To Selma or Auschwitz?
Everett PiperEverett Piper's Blog
- 2011 Jan 22
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As we celebrate Black History Month and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. I can't help but think of "freedom rides" of the 1960s and the destination of uncounted buses and trains as they traveled the nation bound for places such as Selma, Birmingham, and the Washington Mall.
I also can't help but reflect on today's universities and the prevailing paradigm that asserts there is no Truth with a capital "T" but only personal "truths" that are uniquely created by each individual. "It is the journey that matters" we are told, "not the destination. There is no such thing as a final answer. It really doesn't matter what worldview you choose as long as you choose one. To travel is better than to arrive. Just get on a train—any train—and enjoy the ride."
The 1930s was also a time of uncounted trains and buses: Trains loaded not with riders dreaming of freedom but with those plagued by nightmares of their own slavery and death. Trains not of passengers but of prisoners. Trains bound not for the Lincoln Memorial but for Auschwitz.
As we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King are any of us really ready to look into the faces of those in the boxcars bound for the furnaces and say, "Just enjoy the ride! The fun is in the journey! The destination really is of little consequence! It doesn't matter what you believe as long as it works for you!"
Maybe the best way to honor Dr. King is to remember that education is only good if it helps our next generation of leaders avoid getting on the wrong train headed to the wrong place.