By Clint Confehr
MEMPHIS, TN — Personal acts for others in the pursuit of social justice is the most appropriate way, today, to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., according to his personsal attorney, speech writer and political advisor.
That’s “not to denegrate the event” at the National Civil Rights Museum on Wednesday, April 4, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s death, said Clarence B. Jones who served as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s personal attorney and speech writer.
“You don’t honor Martin Luther King’s legacy by coming to a particular place 50 years atter his passing,” Jones said in the Lorraine Motel that houses the museum. “You honor it by living and working today, 24/7, for social justice…
“If you want to commemorate, you need to commit yourself 24/7” to end gun violence and help poor people, Jones said. “All the rest is theatrical show.”
Jones is the Scholar in Resident at the Martin Luther King Institute at Stanford University and an adjunct professor of political science at the University of San Francisco.
Jones’ comments Wednesday included respect for social media.
“Can you imagin what it would have been like at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 if we had cellphones? We would have five million, easy.”
To keep up with how many people were going to demonstrate with King in Washington in 1963, there were people at pay phones calling in counts from the buses that were rolling by; 30 in that one, 25 in another, according to Jones’ assistant.
Asked about attendance at the National Civil Rights Museum, Jones said, “I thought it would be bigger, actually.” Asked if personal attendance might be affected by live coverage on TV and the Internet, Jones said, “That could be.”