The Movement Made the Man (MLK)

Martin Luther King, Jr. did not make the civil rights movement. As Elizabeth Myer Boulton reminds us, it was the movement that made the man. Without the movement there would have been no “I Have a Dream Speech”.

Elizabeth (Liz) Myer Boulton’s spouse, Matthew Myer Boulton, President of Christian Theological Seminary, hosted five McCormick Theological Seminary classmates this past week, including Steve Shoemaker and me.

I returned from Indianapolis and found Liz’s powerful sermon. It reminded me of Kay and my month in Saint Augustine.  It was the unsung local heroes who built the movement, paid the price, and drove the buses to the Poor People’s March on Washington. Martin represented them all.

– Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, May 23, 2015.

4 thoughts on “The Movement Made the Man (MLK)

  1. Gordon,
    I don’t know Ms. Boulton personally. I do know she is persuasive as a writer and a very powerful preacher. I do believe that the civil rights movement had been underway long before Dr. King came on the scene. Many African Americans had suffered as a result of protesting the less than human treatment accorded to members of that race. As with any movement, the foot soldiers are always those who are the foundation and continuity. However, having marched with Dr. King(at least they said he was leading the march) and hearing him preach, as well as being involved with the movement at the ground level, I would have to say the movement would not have moved in the direction and as rapidly as it did without the leadership of Dr. King. I believe that Dr. King would have been a force even without the movement.
    This is not to counter Rev. Boulton’a point I only believe we should be aware of how important Dr, King’s role and influence was. Thanks for sharing this sermons and listening to my musings.


    • Couldn’t agree more with you, Anonymous. I, too, marched with Dr. King. He was one very special leader with oratory that brought the world to the cause of civil rights, racial justice, and the movement for peace in the world. Rev. Boulton is a younger generation, my sons’ generation. Your musings and Liz’s are worth lots of space and attention. In the GOP presidential debate last night, I was struck by the irony of Rick Santorum using Dr. King in support of the KY Clerk of Courts refusal to issue a marriage license to a gay couple. I think Martin would have a thing or two to say about that if he were still with us, although he would be gracious. The fact is, as we know, that the civil rights movement was ANTI

        -discrimination, not PRO-discrimination, and argued that those who disobeyed unjust laws do so willingly with the expectation of paying the full cost of breaking the law. Times change. That MLK would be used to endorse pro-discrimination conscience is a great sorrow. But it is always the un-named people in the trenches who pave the way for change and progress.


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