My favorite play is Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop.
In it she tells the fictional story of the night before King’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel. The play doesn’t ask to be a history play about the hero King but rather serves to be a portrayal of the human King. The opening scene you hear King peeing in the bathroom. The entire play seeks to demystify the character of King in order to encourage its audience to take on the baton of social justice themselves and continue the campaign for the American utopia of equality and freedom.
Walk towards the Promised Land, my America, my sweet America with this baton I give you, this baton I shall no longer carry. Because you are the climbers, the new carriers of the cross. I beg you, implore you, don’t give in and toss it off. Oh this here mountaintop there is beauty to behold. America, my America in black, red, white, blue, brown, and gold. Canaan is calling! Calling for you to come… Oh, America, my America, your Promised Land is so close, and yet so far away, so close and yet so far away, so close and yet so—
When King died, America mourned a great leader and felt void of a leader for some time after him. King never wanted his campaign to be about him, but rather his campaign was about every man, woman, and child in America reaching the Promise Land. Even today, King’s words ring true, “something must happen to awaken the dozing conscience of America before it’s too late. The time has come when perhaps only the willing and nonviolent acts of suffering by the innocent can arouse the nation.” The baton passes on to me. The baton passes on to you. The baton passes on to us.