Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. with a single quote

Last week I took the plunge and answered the “50 questions that will free your mind”. Question #13 was:
Would you break the law to save a loved one?
My answer, as short as it could be, was “Absolutely.”

Today I read a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that made me think about this very question, and now I know how King would have answered it himself.

“Never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
― Martin Luther King Jr

Such timeless advice, still relevant today.

The movie The HelpMy husband and I happened to watch the movie The Help this weekend. We didn’t time it to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day. It just happened to show up at the library late last week and it gave us the opportunity to watch a movie together this weekend. I read the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett several months ago and I loved it. I thought it was especially good as a first time novel, with an interesting way to tell a fascinating story. As always, I found the book  much better than the movie since many parts had to be cut, but the scenes still flowed well.

I just can’t imagine these events happened barely 60 years ago. Of course, we’ve come a long way since then (at least compared to how things used to be) but it’s still hard for me to remember how bad things were not so long ago.  And so, if I could change my answer to the question Would you break the law to save a loved one?, I’d refine it with this answer. “To do what’s right, absolutely.”

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4 responses to “Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. with a single quote

  1. Of the 50 questions you answered, #13 stuck in my mind because you didn’t seem concerned about which law, what they’d done, why they needed to be saved (all things I considered when I saw the question).

    Your modified answer demonstrates a greater degree of consideration to the specific circumstances. Good on ya!

    I enjoyed the movie The Help. We have come a LONG way, baby. But we have miles to go before we sleep.

    • I originally found the question very vague and broad so I chose a short answer. Honestly I focused on the word “save”, which would imply some sort of sacrifice on my end to help the one I love. If a loved one was in dire physical danger, I’d never hesitate to do anything to save them, including breaking the law. I never considered reading the question to ever break the law to “save” someone who’d done something terribly wrong that couldn’t be forgiven, as it would not really be “saving” them, but have them avoid a deserved sentence. Therefore my short answer.

      And yes, there’s still a very long way to go, unfortunately.

  2. Thanks for sharing that quote from Dr. King. It’s not one I was familiar with, but I find it very moving.

    I think I’m the only person I know who didn’t love The Help. Maybe my years teaching American history left me too skeptical that what Stockett imagined could ever have happened; and that certainly doesn’t say much about the state of race relations in the U.S. in the last century. (Or now, for that matter.)

    • There are several things I really liked about the book:
      – The writing style: it sucked me right in and the pace kept me going. I usually don’t like stories told from different characters because they often feel like they just bounce off (think Jodie Picoult) but this one didn’t do that to me.
      – I really liked the idea of telling the story from the angle of the many maids, something that’s rarely told. And this concept applies to many other “ignored” members of our society.
      – And yes, there’s nothing to be proud of about U.S. history when reading this book, and I think that’s why it’s important to tell the story.
      Now, could this story really have happened in real life? Probably not because of the circumstances, but I think it’s still a good venue to tell about this side of history.

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