MLK Day 2023

The featured image is of Martin Luther King and John Lewis in Memphis during the 1968 sanitation workers strike. It was not long before King was murdered. John Lewis kept on making good trouble until he was 80. I’ve had Lewis on my mind as overt racism and hate crimes are on the rise.

Here’s how I concluded my 2020 tribute to Rep. Lewis:

We trusted John Lewis to do and say the right thing. He was always focused on the big picture, which is what made him such a singular figure during his nearly sixty years on the national stage. John Lewis kept his eyes on the prize.

Except for the duration of his service, the same could be said about Dr. King.

It’s MLK Day 2023. I’m a bit under the weather, so here’s what I had to say on MLK Day 2022 in a post named for one of his greatest speeches, The Other America:

There’s not much left to say about Martin Luther King Jr. on the national holiday that bears his name. The media and Republicans have attempted to transform him into a toothless Teddy Bear. To some extent that worked as the I Have A Dream speech has become King’s best-known oration. It *is* an impressive speech, especially as part of it was pure improv; inspired by a conversation King had with Mahalia Jackson.

I prefer King’s Stanford speech on April 14, 1967. It was a formal lecture entitled The Other America. and focused on American struggles, not American dreams. The country was just as divided in 1967 as it is today.

It was an interesting setting as Stanford University was and is a citadel of privilege and the home of the Hoover Institute, The transcript can be found here.

Here’s one of many money quotes from that speech:

“One America is beautiful for situation… millions of young people grow up in the sunlight of opportunity. But tragically and unfortunately, there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that constantly transforms the ebulliency of hope into the fatigue of despair… They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”

A video of the speech itself in its entirety:

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