A resplendent civil rights figure was commemorated this weekend on the 48th anniversary of his visit to a calm and peaceful Bahamian island. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 83 years old this year if he had lived to travel to the island of Bimini to see an intricately detailed bust and bronze sculpture erected in his honor. In his place, his eldest son, Martin Luther King III, visited the archipelago along with his wife, Arndrea Waters King. The Kings attended a midday plaque unveiling with Bahamian dignitaries Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.
Accepting the tributes in his late father’s absence, King III reflected on a time when he visited the college of his mother, Coretta Scott King, and found the prolific words of Horace Mann especially touching and fitting for the day’s occasion. “On behalf of my family I want to thank this nation, thank this island. We appreciate what is being done today,” said King III. “I’m often reminded of the experience I had as a child when I went to my mother’s undergraduate school, which was Antioch college in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The experience was to go to the school and to see an interesting statue of the educator Horace Mann. There was something inscribed upon that statue that made an indelible impact on my life; ‘Be ashamed to die until you’ve won a victory for humanity.’ ”
“Now you may say, ‘brother King that’s a grandiose thing,’ ” he continued. “But really it can be broken down this way. We can win victories in our neighborhood, we can win a victory in our school, we can win a victory in our places of worship. Some of us will win victories in our cities and nations and some even in our world. But be ashamed to die until you’ve done a little something!”
Ansil Saunders, a bone fisherman captain and pride of his native land, also spoke during the day’s festivities and reflected on his personal experience with the civil rights pioneer. Saunders spent critical time with King on the island and took him to the calming mangroves where he was inspired to pen his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and later his “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” address. The latter speech would prove to be King’s last as the civil disobedience proponent was assassinated just days after delivering it in 1968.
Rolling out took a series of intimate photographs during the celebration.
Check out more pictures of the Martin Luther King Jr. Bimini dedication below. –danielle canada