By Mary Mergenthal
Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Anthony Park celebrated Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 15, by hearing from King scholar, the Rev. Ken Wheeler from St. Louis, Mo. A large crowd heard his keynote address that morning, worshipped together with Wheeler preaching and shared a community meal provided by the seminary.
Wheeler asked: “Is Martin Luther King safely dead?” as he spoke of current threats not only to those in America with black skin, but to all who value freedom and justice. We make King into a mythical figure, taking the edge off his humanity, he said.
Wheeler, who grew up in Vicksburg, Miss., told about the Southern apartheid he and King experienced growing up.
“That system was based on the un-making of those with black skin,” he said. “But dreamers and dreams are meant to agitate.
“I grew up seeing three pictures hanging on the wall of our home: Jesus, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King,” he said.
- Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI, considered King the “most dangerous man in America,” Wheeler said, “but Hoover said nothing about the Ku Klux Klan.”
Speaking of today’s social conditions, Wheeler stressed this: “Injustice is never OK. We should not get comfortable with injustice.
“We have leaders who would drive a wedge between black and white,” Wheeler added. “But this is no time for silence, no time for equivocation. People of courage must be ready to act, to cry out against racism.”