A NEW ALABAMA AND A NEW AMERICA
Dr. Virgil A. Wood
I have seen it, felt it, and now declare that it is so, and for those who have eyes to see, and hearts desiring to see, it is so. There is a new Alabama, foreshadowing a New America. My visit to Montgomery August 8 through 15, 2012, and preaching at the world famed Dexter King Memorial Baptist Church on August 12, and meeting with many major players in the city, reconfirmed what my research had already indicated.
This story is real, truly radical, and absolutely relevant for the journey our Nation is making at this time, towards a fuller expression of its own Dream, and in its founding documents, indeed God’s Dream for all nations. The fragments or three phases of that Journey have now been joined, and as the XY and Z of a Beloved Community Global Jubilee Love Project, to be explored all over Alabama, starting in Montgomery. The three cities of Alabama; Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma, have each given the nation the only legislative and judicial achievements for public policy in the long drama of the whole Civil Rights movement.
Now, the History of both America and Alabama, can be read through the lens of one man’s journey; from Jim Crow, then tragedy, and ultimately the victory of repentance and reconciliation. A larger part of that narrative involved Martin Luther King, Jr.’s father, affectionately know across the Globe as Daddy King, while the other player was the legendary Governor of Alabama, George Corley Wallace, who was finally forgiven when he showed up in person and requested it. That gathering at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church back then, was a new day, foreshadowing the New Alabama and the New America, even now becoming more visible.
For me, this is a story that could be scripted as Daddy King and Governor Wallace at a Peace Table in Heaven. In this regard, they have become the first among equals as Lamp Lighters and Path Finders for what could be called a Beloved Community Global Jubilee Love Project. Theirs is a story yet to be told. As a ten year co-worker with Dr. King, Jr., 26 years, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., and ten year member of his SCLC Board, from 1959 and a few years after Memphis, I now affirm and confirm the following.
In the early sixties, I head Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. often say, “for a long time, I had been determined to hate all white people, after all that they had done to me and my people”.
By 1975, after the assassination of both his son, Martin, and his wife, Mrs. Alberta Williams King, he would continually say, especially in connection with his losses,“ I don’t hate anybody”. “Its not who killed them, but what”. After visiting Governor Wallace on that same day, offering him love and prayers, later that same day he would speak at Dexter Church, and said in effect: they tell me there are two people I am supposed to hate, one is black and one is white. One killed my son, and the other killed my wife. I don’t hate either one of them. Hate only leads to violence and destruction; only love leads to forgiveness and healing, reconciliation, peace and wholeness. That’s what the Beloved Community is all about.
In 1963, Governor George Wallace of Alabama, stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, blocking the entrance of two African American students, declaring “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, and Segregation forever.”
Fifteen years later, in 1978, Governor Wallace showed up in his wheel chair, and spoke to a Dexter Avenue Baptist Church gathering, and said in effect; I have come to ask your forgiveness. I now know that segregation is wrong. Racism is wrong, and I personally know what suffering is. Segregation and racism caused you suffering. And I am truly sorry. I hope you will find it in your hearts to forgive me. It is reported that as he was being turned around to be wheeled out of the sanctuary, some reached out to shake his hand, while the congregation responded affirmatively by singing, Amazing Grace How Sweet The sound.
In between the events stated above, Daddy King had paid a visit to the Governor’s Mansion, and it is reported that he said, in effect: Mr. Governor, I have come to see you. I don’t know how you feel about me, but you’re my brother, I love you, and have come to have prayer with you. In Daddy King’s church, this would be celebrated as “a sweet, sweet spirit, in this place”. Is our Nation ready for another Sweet, Sweet Spirit ?
At a time within the next six weeks, some veterans of the Martin Luther King movement will meet with the people of Montgomery, and explore further, the implications of a Beloved Community paradigm, locally and globally, as envisioned by Dr. King, Jr., E. D. Nixon, and Dr. Vernon Johns, King’s predecessor at Dexter.
The rest of this story, A GREAT STORY NOT YET TOLD, can and must now be celebrated and told, and its sequel, in school classrooms, at kitchen tables, in houses of faith, in the halls of government, in corporate board rooms, wherever the sons and daughters of Father Abraham gather, live, study, work, and play. Daddy King and Governor Wallace, some would say, ‘odd couple in heaven’, but we say, this is but another example among many, of those who show us clearly, how to FREE THE DREAM as Pathfinders to BELOVED AMERICA. The rest of the story is ours — to learn, to live, and to tell.
Contact: Dr. Virgil A. Wood, RECONCILIATION JUBILEE, Inc.
2600 E Broadway, Suite C, #116, Pearland, Texas 77581
281 464 3822 drwood@soulscope
Websites soulscope.com and freethedream.org