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What Fame Cannot Do

Paul Louis Metzger writes:

My greatest living hero is Dr. John M. Perkins, an African American evangelical Christian and civil rights leader nearly beaten to death in Mississippi in 1970 for his work defending the rights of poor blacks. ... One evening in Portland, Oregon, I was driving the now-elderly Dr. Perkins to a benefit dinner. He was to serve as the keynote speaker at the dinner, which was raising money for an inner-city community development ministry that brought jobs and housing to ex-offenders and youth.

As we drove along--fittingly on a street called Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard--I asked Dr. Perkins what it was like for him now in Mississippi. Dr. Perkins replied matter-of-factly, “I'm kind of a hero now in Mississippi. It seems that every time the state newspapers write something about reconciliation, they quote me. It's as if I created the word. But when I think about how many homes my fame has built for the poor in Mississippi, I realize that my fame hasn't built any homes for the poor. So, I don't put no stock in my fame.”

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