Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was prepared to teach us to become a democracy where all people counted, Haas Institute Director john a. powell explained during a panel discussion at the King Center in Atlanta on April 5 marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination.
"We have to remember he died when he was 39, and if you watch the trajectory of his life, he was getting deeper and growing more and more profound. And he brought many things to us, most of which we still haven't learned," powell said.
powell said King was ready to teach us to become a democracy "where all people counted."
"King was ready to teach us how to make the world a place safe for humans, how to connect our faith, our politics, and our lives. We weren't ready to learn."
He added: "That's the question, that's the struggle we're going through today. ... In a lot of ways King's legacy is not even a legacy, because it's so alive."
"What is clear is if we don't embrace his legacy, then the future of this country and the future of the world are greatly at risk," powell added.
The discussion was hosted by the King Center in partnership with the Carter Center, Volunteers of America and the Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Other panelists included the CEO of the King Center Bernice A. King, and non-violent activist, sociologist, and writer George Lakey. It was moderated by Joshua Dubois.