Every year about this time, I remember the day I walked into the office of the Montgomery Improvement Association and shook hands with Dr. King. It was of no consequence to the Movement but it was a pivotal moment in my life. I share it with the hope that all of us can take the continuing struggle for universal civil rights personally, in our own way.
The first African-American enrolls in Auburn University
Nearly thirty years after I met Harold Franklin as he registered as a student at Auburn, we met and recalled those tumultuous times.
This story begins when after years of struggle and search, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself. He is excited to begin the required journey to fulfill his vision and is ready to face any and all obstacles along the way and then he meets the man with the rope.
I choose to tell this story because I believe that most all of us recognize persons who will, if allowed, make themselves almost totally dependent on someone else and are willing to take no responsibility for themselves. I wonder, do we sometimes understand ourselves as the dependent one?
If you want to make the story work for you, I encourage you to raise some questions of it. Here are some that come to my mind:
- How would you get the man hanging from the rope to take responsibility for himself?
- How much responsibility does the man on the bridge have for the other?
- Could both men be the same person?
- Why are the dependent so often calling the shots?
- If someone came up to you and said, "Hold the end or I'll jump," what would you do?