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Inheriting the Dream Cont’d Short Fiction by Gregory J. Cahanin

through the church as he introduced Dr. King and there was a pause as the church members imagined the two men embracing across the radio waves from Memphis. Dr. King’s voice filled the church as the thanked the crowd in the Mason Temple and said that Reverend Abernathy was the best friend in the world. “Something is happening in Memphis, something is happening in our world,” he began. Arthur sat beside his Mother with his father to her right near the aisle as he listened to the radio boom through their simple church. Arthur’s thoughts were first of the work in the bell tower and the strength of the radio signal from hundreds of miles away. Gradually he was drawn to Dr. King’s words as the minister imagined traveling through ancient Egypt, to Mount Olympus, and onward to Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation and then to today. Slowly the church began to fill with amen’s from the Mt. Olive members and mixed with those coming over the airwaves from the Mason Temple. “The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today… they want to be free,” announced Dr. King. Arthur’s mother let loose with a “Praise Jesus,” and he too joined the rest of his congregation as they traveled back across the airwaves and entered Mason Temple themselves, one small church working 7

with God to give its entire spirit to the force of the Lord Jesus empowered in Dr. King. One small church committed to the human rights revolution to moving away the barriers of injustice, and encircling with their arms held towards heaven the freedom of assembly, the freedom of speech, and the right to protest. Dr. King finished with, “I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land.” Arthur suddenly felt small and low and looked around. Everyone was standing around him their arms outstretched as Dr. King’s voice boomed, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” Arthur found himself standing as well amidst the cries of praise as the applause from the speakers was mixed with those around him. The hair on his neck bristled. Brother Otis lowered the volume on the radio and the congregation suddenly found itself disconnected from the rainy Memphis night and began to slowly and self consciously sit down again. Reverend Roosevelt sat in his altar chair looking at the quieting congregation. He had seldom seen an altar call capture a congregation the way Dr. King’s speech from WDIA in Memphis had tonight. He remained seated and placed his hands together and set his chin upon them and quietly prayed. Finally, in almost a whisper he said, “God Bless Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and God bless each and every one of you. Thank you all for coming and sharing. Good night.” With that the reverend walked down the center aisle to the church door and began to quietly shake each member’s hand. Arthur looked around and the church seemed almost like a revival had just finished and each member was quietly basking in the glow of God’s grace. They were all filing out to their cars to go to spread not Jesus’ message

CP3 Understanding