Not too long ago I watched part of a documentary on ABC Television which traced the history of the Royal Family – the House of Windsor. In that program they recounted the passing away of King George VI. In 1952, the sad word went forth from London . . . “THE KING IS DEAD”.
King George VI had died in his sleep at the age of 56. He was somewhat of a private man, in comparison with others who’ve held the throne, but he was greatly respected and admired. His reign had carried him through the rigors of World War 2, the election of a socialist government, and the dissolution of much of the British Empire. His tired heart gave way. All across Britain, people flocked to churches to worship, to pray, and to seek comfort and hope. In 1963, another shocking word was sent out across the world: “The President is dead”. It was unbelievable. JOHN F. KENNEDY, young, vibrant and dynamic, was cut down by an assassin’s bullet – a nation was plunged into grief. People flocked into churches in the greatest numbers since the announcement of the end of World War 2. Ministers changed their sermon texts and preached messages of healing and hope to the people of America. And still on April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated by a sniper as he stood on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, TN. News of his death was greeted with an outpouring of grief and rage. Riots erupted all over the country, primarily in black urban areas.
At least 110 cities experienced violence and destruction in the next few days, resulting in roughly $50 million in damage. Of the 39 people who died, 34 were black. The worst riots were in Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Over 22,000 federal troops and 34,000 national guard were sent to aid local police — the largest ever called to deal with domestic civil disturbance.
In many cities the devastation was so great that it left a permanent scar, which is still evident decades later. But even in the midst of all the violence, most African Americans found themselves in God’s House praying for peace and the slain leader.
We shall never forget, Happy Birthday, Dr. King!
C.MeGill Brown firstname.lastname@example.org