Today Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an international figure and symbol for justice and human rights. His clarion call for love and equal rights resounds with people from virtually all sectors of the society, spanning a broad array of political, religious and social perspectives. Yet before he became an international icon, he was a preacher of the gospel and a local pastor. In celebrating Dr. King’s life and legacy, we seek to remember his vocation and preserve the prophetic edge that is so clear in his life work.
As a community we have a tradition of honoring Dr. King’s martyrdom with April lectures concerning his continuing impact on church and society. We also reflect on the unique gifts of the Black Church and the current challenges for the church-at-large given its complex history with slavery and segregation. We are delighted that the Rev. Dr. D.H. Kortright Davis will offer the King lectures on April 7-8, 2014. Dr. Davis is a beloved priest and teacher. He has authored a host of notable texts, including Emancipation Still Comin’: Explorations in Caribbean Emancipatory Theology, Cross and Crown in Barbados: Caribbean Political Religion in the Late 19th Century, Serving with Power: Reviving the Spirit of Christian Ministry, and Compassionate Love and Ebony Grace: Christian Altruism and People of Color.
“Now I am aware of the fact that there are those who would contend that we live in the most ghastly period of human history. They would argue that the rhythmic beat of the deep rumblings of discontent from Asia, the uprisings in Africa, the nationalistic longings of Egypt, the roaring cannons from Hungary, and the racial tensions of America are all indicative of the deep and tragic midnight which encompasses our civilization. They would argue that we are retrogressing instead of progressing. But far from representing retrogression and tragic meaninglessness, the present tensions represent the necessary pains that accompany the birth of anything new. Long ago the Greek philosopher Heraclitus argued that justice emerges from the strife of opposites, and Hegel, in modern philosophy, preached a doctrine of growth through struggle. It is both historically and biologically true that there can be no birth and growth without birth and growing pains. Whenever there is the emergence of the new we confront the recalcitrance of the old. So the tensions which we witness in the world today are indicative of the fact that a new world order is being born and an old order is passing away.”
--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Director of the Office of Multicultural Ministries
Virginia Theological Seminary
3737 Seminary Road,
Alexandria, VA 22304