The Very Rev. Kellly Brown Douglas is visiting Virginia Theological Seminary to observe the Feast of Dr. King on the 51st anniversary of his death. As the guest preacher, below is the sermon she will deliver on Thursday, April 4th at the Seminary’s community Eucharist.
By The Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas
Good Evening Virginia Theological Seminary community! Over 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in response to President Kennedy’s assassination that “Our nation should do a great deal of soul-searching . . .” For, he went on to say, “While the question ‘Who killed President Kennedy?’ is important, the question ‘What killed him?’ is more important.”
On this evening that is 51 years to the day of King’s assassination, these words are prescient. For while we know who killed him, it is clear that we as a nation have never asked let alone confronted what killed King. To do so makes clear that the deadly bullet which struck Dr. King at 6:01 p.m on that 1968 April 4 Thursday in Memphis Tennessee, was a consequence of the violence that violence created and hence the cycle of violence that continues to define this nation even 51 years later. For this it is the very same violence that sustains the prison industrial complex in which black and brown bodies are unduly trapped. It is the same violence that perpetuates the school to prison pipeline that stifles the life options of far too many black girls and boys. It is the

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