All Hail the King

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Martin Luther, that is!

January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

As a kid, not a year went by in school where we didn’t learn about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  We had MLK workbooks that we got every January in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades where each year we learned more about this drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness.

“Negroes have straightened their backs in Albany and once a man straightens his back you can’t ride him anymore.”

When I think of Dr. King, I always think of my dad.  My dad, born January 22, 1952, who used to perform the “I Have a Dream” speech every year at church, libraries, and other programs around Cleveland.  Last night as I finished up some revisions, I landed on CNN and watched a program hosted by Soledad O’Brien called MLK:  Words That Changed a Nation that showed many of Dr. King’s speeches and sermons in his handwriting.  It took me beyond the most popular speech that everyone knows Dr. King for and explored segments of his lesser known speeches.

“Strangely enough, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.”

Thanks to the civil rights movement, Dr. King, and so many others who marched for equality, integration, and justice for everyone, I was able to live a better life than my parents and grandparents.  I was able to learn more about their fight thanks to PBS with their Eyes on the Prize series as a 5th and 6th grader. 

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

I was able to grow up reading books about Black people’s contributions, ride in the front of the bus, and have friendships with people of other ethnicities without being punished.  I was able to attend the college of my choosing and teach Black, White, Asian, and African students.  Because of so many strides made before I was even born, I am able to be all that I want to be in life without fear.

“We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always right to do right.”

Every year, PBS has great Black History Month programming and this year is no different.  They return Eyes on the Prize to the line up.  There are quite a few shows that I want to check out including Prince Among Slaves (February 4) and Banished (February 19).

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