The Founding Fathers of the United States had many disagreements in developing our Constitution. Slavery was one such issue. Apparently no one spoke loudly enough against it until in 1831 a man named William Lloyd Garrison, started a newspaper called the Liberator stating, “I am in earnest – I will not equivocate – I will not excuse – I will not retreat a single inch – and I will be heard!”
Communication is more than words strung together in series. What you do, or as the cliche goes, “Actions speak louder than words,” holds true as a language of its own. Words and actions must come together to Be Heard. William Lloyd Garrison was a man of action.
Though slavery was not a new form of oppression in our world, and the United States was not establishing new evils, the glaring difference was that our country was founded on a premise of freedom, specifically freedom in Christ. This group of men call the Founding Fathers declared their rights to freedom with a document we know as the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Were these words enough to be heard by the British? No, nor were the many redresses which preceded this declaration. These rights required responsibility, the state of being held as the cause of something that needs to be set right, synonymous with duty. This responsibility meant defiance which we recall as the Revolutionary War.
But as time would tell after this war, actually during this war, during the writing of the Constitution of the United States, some rights were debated and unaccounted (Why do good people do wrong? That is another subject for another time.). Hence, the Bill of Rights was written to correct some of these deficiencies in the Constitution. These were, initially, limiters of the Government, but more, they obliged a citizenry to check government when said government presented cause. “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary…that they should declare the causes which impel them…”
The Bill of Rights began a process of amendment to the Constitution. It began with the first Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. And more “redress” was needed with regard to the basic rights as previously declared under Heaven.
There was a man named Michael who was heard because he acted by:
- · Traveling over 6 million miles
- · Speaking publicly more than 2500 times
- · Being arrested at least than 20 times
- · Writing 5 books
- · Surviving 4 assaults
- · Raising four children
- · Winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and being the “youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize”
- · Being named “Man of the Year” by Time magazine in a 1963
- · Founding (1957) an organization with the motto of, “Not one hair of one head of one person should be harmed.”
- · Continuing after his house was fire bombed in 1956
- · Earning his Doctorate in 1955.
- · Leading a church as pastor in 1954
- · Joining in marriage in 1953
- · Graduating from college in 1948
- · Graduated from high school at the age of 15.
- · Being born in 1929.
- · Dying, at the age of 39, by assassination on April 4, 1968
Michael changed his name and was known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
How is it that some people can “say so much” in such a short time? Is it because they have a dream? Or, is it because they take up the responsibility to Be Heard in their words and deeds?
I challenge you, if you have not recently, read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the 27 Amendments. These are your freedoms; they are your responsibilities. Be Heard.
- · The King Center – The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
- · The Official Website of the Nobel Peace Prize – Information on MLK’s award
- · Freedom Documents -The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, etc.
- · The Abolitionists – To create a more perfect union, they tore the nation apart
- · A Class Divided – A teacher divides her class of white students to help them feel discrimination