The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
The long struggle of freedom in our nation has been punctuated by stories of men and women who refused to shrink back from opposition and instead ran headlong into the fray of justice and equality. Many of these men and women have been lost to history and have become casualties of short memory.
The Rev. Dr. Melvin Charles Smith is one such giant of the faith; a gospel agitator still resisting at 81 years of age. The Memphis native and senior pastor of Mt. Moriah East Baptist Church has been on staff at the church for 52 years, and her pastor for 50. A born preacher, Smith has worked in the virology department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, trained at Oxford, and continues to be a stalwart of progress and hope in one of Memphis’s most historic neighborhoods, Orange Mound.
In this video, pastor Jason Cook of Fellowship Memphis sits down with Dr. Smith to reflect on the civil-rights movement, the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike, and what it looks like to carry on the unfinished work of Dr. King.
Dr. Smith, along with other local Memphis pastors, will tell their stories at the MLK50 conference on April 3 and 4 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.
Editors’ note: We invite you to join the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and The Gospel Coalition at a special event, “MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop,” taking place April 3–4, 2018, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Register today: MLK50conference.com.
- 9 Things You Should Know About the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968 (Joe Carter)
- Martin Luther King Jr. and the Gospel’s Social Demands (Mika Edmondson)