Today’s Daily Thought on BBC Radio Solent draws a parallel between the events in Alabama 53 years ago and Jerusalem around 2,000 years past.
Civil Rights Movement Co-Founder Dr. Ralph David Abernathy and his wife Mrs. Juanita Abernathy follow with Dr and Mrs Martin Luther King as the Abernathy children join the front line, leading the Selma to Montgomery march.
It’s exactly 53 years ago today that Dr Martin Luther King led nearly 25,000 people to the steps of the state capital of Montgomery, Alabama, to highlight black grievances. This five-day march had started in Selma and closed a month of civil rights protests.
The BBC report described troops surrounding the capital and army helicopters hovering overhead as Dr King addressed the protesters.
He described the trek as one of the greatest marches in the history of America and said the aim was not to humiliate and defeat white people, but to win friendship and understanding. Dr King tried to present a petition of black grievances, but Governor George Wallace refused to meet the delegation.
During this Holy Week, we mark a parallel event towards the end of Jesus’s ministry on earth. He didn’t march with 25,000 people but entered the capital Jerusalem to cheers and acclamation sitting on a donkey.
The crowd waved palm branches and greeted him as a king and Saviour while Jewish religious leaders watched on in horror.
The scale of Dr King’s support on the Selma march almost certainly hastened his assassination. The crowds in Jerusalem chanting “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” definitely spurred on those who were out to have Jesus arrested and tried.
And, despite all the crowds, Jesus soon finds out that the road to the cross is one he has to travel alone.