Sunday, April 18, 2021

Dr. Martin Luther King Died 51 Years Ago Today on April 4th


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*Monday morning when I got to work, a conversation ensued about the murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle the previous day on Sunday March 31st. I did not know much about him, but the younger people cited all the good things the Grammy-nominee and former gang member had done for the community in which he grew up, and where he continued to invest his time and fortune.

When a fan, Victor Martinez, asked the question, “why do those who do good get killed?” my mind immediately went to Dr. Martin Luther King who was assassinated 51 years ago on April 4, 1968.

As news reports showed the saddened and bewildered crowd that had gathered at the scene where Hussle was gunned down, I remembered the sunken feeling that came over me when I heard the news about Dr. King. I thought then, “why is the world so violent?” as it had been just a little over four years since President John F. Kennedy met the same fate. I remember thinking why even try to do good and make a difference if somewhere out there, there’s a bullet with your name on it – contrary to the title of one of Hussle’s mixtapes, “Bullets Ain’t Got No Name.”


A month before JFK died, I was writing a speech for my fifth-grade class presentation. I practiced at home emulating JFK and others the way they pounded their fists on the podium as they spoke. I was inspired, and fascinated by the thought of becoming a great public figure. When Dr. King died, I think something died within me and the spirit of Black men in general. Was assassination the reward for trying to do good? What good was it to aspire to become like JFK, Malcolm X or Dr. King (among so many others who were silenced)?

Then I learned about Jesus, the Son of God who willingly gave His life on the cross to redeem us and to reconcile mankind to God. The more I learned about Him, all the good He did, the anguish He experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane, and how He was obedient all the way to eternity for the joy that was set before Him; I understood purpose and destiny. Dr. King knew his life was on the line, but as he once said, “A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live.”

So, although the hope and trust we have in mankind may fail, our hope in Jesus is an evergreen; it’s everlasting – He will never leave us nor forsake us if we believe, trust and obey God’s Word. Hussle was 33 (the same age as Jesus), Dr. King was 39. I guess the “good,” they do die young!

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Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand,” and “Book To The Future” on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. E-mail:


Larry Buford
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, and author of Book/CD titled "Things Are Gettin' Outta Hand" (Steuben Pub.) He writes Human Interest articles and entertainment reviews for various newspapers across the country. He is also an editor, and provides services for press releases, interviews, business letters, resumes, etc. A native Detroiter, he is a former Motown songwriter.



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