Something Is Happening in Memphis: Greg Thompson Delivers Guest Lecture

On Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last Campaign

On Tuesday, October 30, Greg Thompson delivered a guest lecture entitled “Something Is Happening in Memphis: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last Campaign.”

Detailing the vision of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Thompson reflects on King’s work in Memphis with the Sanitation Workers’ Strike. King believed the rich, poor, white, black, gentile, Protestant, and Catholic needed to be united in collaboration. When all people are unified, beloved community will truly exist. King anchored his movement in love and he was inspired by the movement in Memphis. Thompson traces the history of civil rights in Memphis to the city’s continuing evolution today. This includes the restoration of Clayborn Temple and the surrounding community.

Excerpt: “It was love that propelled him forward, and love that held him back from places that other people would go. And lots of people thought King’s insistence on love was naive. And it’s hard to blame them. Faced with hate, love can seem impossible. Faced with violence, love can seem irresponsible and immoral. And so, lots of people tried to root the Civil Rights Movement in an ethic not of Christian love, but of a generalized democratic vision of equity. In his commitment to nonviolence, King believed that nonviolent direct action was the highest expression of civic love.”

Listen to the entire lecture through its resource page here.

Greg Thompson serves as Director for Research and Creative Strategy for Clayborn Temple, a historic civil rights site in Memphis, Tennessee. In this capacity he is responsible for the creative storytelling at the heart of Clayborn’s programming and the creative strategy at the heart of Clayborn’s art-based community redevelopment. He is also the co-writer of a new musical production called “Union: A Musical” that tells the story of the Memphis Sanitation Worker’s strike of 1968, Martin Luther King Junior’s last campaign. He holds an MA and PhD from the University of Virginia.

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