Perry Wallace and I visited the Maret School in Washington, D.C., last Friday as part of the school’s MLK Weekend celebrations. We spoke to the entire middle school, and then the entire high school, before meeting with small groups of high school students over lunch. During a Q&A session with the high schoolers, one student recalled that Wallace had the chance to meet Martin Luther King Jr. while a student at Vanderbilt. The Maret scholar asked Wallace what King had said to him back in 1967, a year before the civil rights leader was slain in Memphis.
“God doesn’t promise to do away with the problems and the pain,” Wallace recalled King telling him, “but he does promise that there is a way of dealing with them.”
Tears welled in Wallace’s eyes as he remembered King’s words, and he raised a fist to the diverse group of students as if to remind them to stay strong. All the students, some 350 of them, got up from their seats to give Wallace a standing ovation.