Tag Archives: Dr King

Time Is What We Make It


Time Is What We Make It

Fifty-one years have passed since the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. America lost a pure soul and a charismatic leader who tried to unite people. Many television programs devoted time to memorialize one of the true kings of justice and equality. His surname is such an appropriate fit.

Someone said that “Dr. King is more alive today.” He certainly lives collectively in the hearts of many Americans and people from all over the world. Many of us can recall and recite different excerpts from his famous speeches. Perhaps what we should remember more is that Dr. King knew that humanity had a life’s lesson to learn. He knew that it may not have been learned or internalized immediately. And five decades later, that lesson is just as pivotal.

We must be “appalled at the silence of good people.” Too many of us continue to accept injustice. Some of us prefer to look the other way when we see homeless individuals on the streets of every major city in this country.  This country, the greatest democracy in the world does very little to change the intolerable state of existence of homeless people.

Martin L. King III reminded us recently that the best way to honor Dr. King’s memory is to do something to eliminate the poverty in this country. He cited that there are 36 million Americans that live in poverty. That is appalling. Twelve million children live in poverty. That is appalling. Where have the good people been for the last fifty years? Jonathan Kozol warned us of the “Savage Inequalities” he observed a few decades ago in the poorer school districts of our more important cities. Not much has changed. This is appalling.

According to the census data compiled by Kids Count, in Louisiana, twenty-eight percent of people under the age of 18 live in poverty. Mississippi statistics report 30 percent and New Mexico falls in the third place with twenty-six percent of this age group living in poverty. This is appalling.

Dr. King spoke of the “triple evils of poverty, racism, and violence” and still fifty-one years later we have more prisons than ever to house our violent criminals. Yet very few opportunities for reform and for restructuring the individuals who need help the most. We are bombarded by violence everywhere from the children’s cartoons to television and movies. And, fifty years later, yes, racism is still alive.

Should we be concerned about the time that has elapsed? Well, according to Dr. King, “Time is never right and never wrong; time is what we make it.” So, it is about time that we make good use of the time. We must start a roll call at churches, schools, community centers, and any type of organization that claims in their statements of mission that any or all the triple evils have to be dealt with collectively. We must not only roll up our sleeves but be ready to remove all the obstacles that obscure or shroud the clock of time well used.

Many of us are so absorbed with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where we share pictures taken with the pink colored lens. Many of us live in solos. We forget the importance of the real life community. We follow people we don’t even know just because they look good or cute. We accept what is posted on social media as the definite truths. We accept alternative facts as truth. We forget that our greatest strength as a nation is our votes. We van be the change. Dr. King proved that united we stand.

History views as prophetic Dr. King’s last speech that fatal day in Memphis. But, his very last words to Ben Branch, a musician, are mind-boggling.

Dr. King asked him to play his favorite song, Take My Hand, Precious Lord.

The following is an excerpt:

“When the darkness appears
And the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home”

Our nation is capable of making good of the time. We must think of ourselves as a great corporation. The stakeholders must all invest and help others to grow. We must keep our eyes on the clock and make sure that when the time comes for us to clock out that we have worked hard to effect social justice. We must emulate the work of the king of social justice and civil and human rights.

Our politicians need to roll up their sleeves and walk the walk. It is time. We must remember that Dr. King was only twenty six years old when he started his journey to effect change. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and was the youngest person to have received it at the time. He professed economic justice for all. He was here for a very short time; very much in the presence of good and with a great awareness of what needed to be done. We have a long way to go. Or do we? We are better equipped to get more people involved. There are no excuses. Are there?  I can’t think of one excuse that would exonerate us from our failure to act now. Representative John Lewis said that Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. “redeemed the soul of America.” We must live up to that redemption one by one.

 

 

 

My Dream and His: My Favorite Quotes


My Favorite Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Quotes

 

Every year for as long as I was a teacher, quotes would be posted all over my classroom during this time of year especially but all year as well. I would ask students to think about the quote and to talk about what Dr. King was saying within the given context or circumstances. I think many of my students were inspired and it was amazing to me what they said sometimes.

Every time one or two students would challenge me and ask me tough questions as well. Many times students would express disappointment and despair because they felt that nothing had really changed as a result of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s dream. Many were pessimistic and I could not blame them. I tried very hard to convince them that they were the change.

I hope that some of them remember how much I believed in the dream. I like to think that I planted a seed in their hearts and brains. As I thought about my former students today, I found myself writing a poem for them. The celebration would not be complete if I would not post some of my favorite quotes.

 

Here is the poem:

 

The Dream

I woke up from a real deep sleep

the warmth of the sun on my face

a promise for a better human race

was a part of my dream

I fell asleep again

to witness history

a token for our collective memory

We walked together side by side

Hand in hand with so much pride

The whole world knew Dr. King had died

His widow and small children

Lead the way

They still stand tall today

King eulogized himself that day

His last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church

was played

the famous ‘Drum Major’ sermon,

he’d given on February 4, 1968.

I will never forget the date.

Sadness spread throughout the land

for the Peace Prize Winner and Holy man

we could not help but to remember

the dream he had for us all.

John Lewis, Jesse Jackson and

Andrew Young would remain

To follow in his footsteps

To ensure his dream comes true

His distinct voice stronger than ever

grew in their heads.

His last speech echoed

And repeated like a refrain

“I don’t know what will happen now;

we’ve got some difficult days ahead.

But it really doesn’t matter to with me now,

because I’ve been to the mountaintop…

I’ve seen the Promised Land.

I may not get there with you.

I’m not worried about anything;

I’m not fearing any man.

Mine eyes have seen the glory

of the coming of the Lord.”

In the dream I saw your faces

(My students of yesteryear)

Pop up before me from different spaces

and as your teacher, I tell you now

Do not let the dream fall down

Keep it alive!

Keep it alive with your actions and deeds.

To my students: I wish you all God’s speed.

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Quotes

“I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most bitter opponents and say: We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you…. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”

“Violence never really deals with the basic evil of the situation. Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn’t murder murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn’t murder lie; it doesn’t establish truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it doesn’t murder dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn’t murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn’t solve any problems.”

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

”I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.”

“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness.”