Imagine yourself a slave in the Deep South, struggling to survive, struggling to work hard enough to avoid the driver’s lash, then you hear it. A lone voice begins to sing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” To an outsider, the slaves are just singing to keep their spirits up, but you recognize the signal. Tonight will be your chance to escape. A conductor for the Underground Railroad is nearby. The hidden message in the song has told you that. You feel your spirits rise, your courage strengthen.
Now imagine you are on a long, hard march. You are bone-weary, foot-sore. You have been knocked down by the force of firehoses turned on you and the marchers around you. You have seen people next to you beaten with billy clubs. You don’t know if you can go on. Then someone starts singing softly. “We shall overcome…” One by one the people around you join in the song, as do you. You feel your spirits rise, your courage strengthen. Deep in your heart, you do believe that we shall overcome some day.
Music is a powerful thing.
Words are powerful, too. The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. can still stir our hearts in 2012 as they stirred the hearts and resolve of people fifty years ago. Imagine being in the auditorium on April 3, 1968, the day before Dr. King was killed, and hearing him speak these words. May they empower us today, as we remember Dr. King, and every day, to ensure that we shall overcome, and we, together, will reach the promised land.
Writing can have power as well. Power to heal, power to educate, power to make aware. Beverley Brenna’s book, Waiting for No One, has the power to raise our awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome. Comments on today’s post will be entered into Thursday’s draw for a copy of Bev’s book.