In a New York Times Magazine interview, Bryan Stevenson was asked, “What would the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. think of America if he were alive today?” This was his answer.
When he found out that one in three black male babies born in this country is expected to go to jail and prison, when he saw the level of poverty, when he heard some of the rhetoric that we frequently hear, I think he would be heartbroken. But I also think he would be excited that if he called a meeting, thousands would come. And that’s what has to happen, even without Dr. King — that we have to be willing to make that commitment so that we can create a world where if Dr. King emerged, he would be so proud to say his dream has finally been realized. We’re not in that world yet.
Bryan Stevenson is the author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014) and the co-founder of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (informally known as the National Lynching Memorial).