Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

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A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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54 Responses to Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

  1. rikyrah says:

    Mon Aug 29, 2011 at 08:24 AM PDT
    Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did

    by HamdenRice

    This will be a very short diary. It will not contain any links or any scholarly references. It is about a very narrow topic, from a very personal, subjective perspective.

    The topic at hand is what Martin Luther King actually did, what it was that he actually accomplished.

    What most people who reference Dr. King seem not to know is how Dr. King actually changed the subjective experience of life in the United States for African Americans. And yeah, I said for African Americans, not for Americans, because his main impact was his effect on the lives of African Americans, not on Americans in general. His main impact was not to make white people nicer or fairer. That’s why some of us who are African Americans get a bit possessive about his legacy. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, despite what our civil religion tells us, is not color blind.

    Head below the fold to read about what Martin Luther King, Jr. actually did.

    I remember that many years ago, when I was a smartass home from first year of college, I was standing in the kitchen arguing with my father. My head was full of newly discovered political ideologies and black nationalism, and I had just read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, probably for the second time.

    A bit of context. My father was from a background, which if we were talking about Europe or Latin America, we would call, “peasant” origin, although he had risen solidly into the working-middle class. He was from rural Virginia and his parents had been tobacco farmers. I spent two weeks or so every summer on the farm of my grandmother and step-grandfather. They had no running water, no gas, a wood burning stove, no bathtubs or toilets but an outhouse, potbelly stoves for heat in the winter, a giant wood pile, a smoke house where hams and bacon hung, chickens, pigs, semi wild housecats that lived outdoors, no tractor or car, but an old plow horse and plows and other horse drawn implements, and electricity only after I was about 8 years old. The area did not have high schools for blacks and my father went as far as the seventh grade in a one room schoolhouse. All four of his grandparents, whom he had known as a child, had been born slaves. It was mainly because of World War II and urbanization that my father left that life.

    They lived in a valley or hollow or “holler” in which all the landowners and tenants were black. In the morning if you wanted to talk to cousin Taft, you would walk down to behind the outhouse and yell across the valley, “Heeeyyyy Taaaaft,” and you could see him far, far in the distance, come out of his cabin and yell back.

    On the one hand, this was a pleasant situation because they lived in isolation from white people. On the other hand, they did have to leave the valley to go to town where all the rigid rules of Jim Crow applied. By the time I was little, my people had been in this country for six generations (going back, according to oral rendering of our genealogy, to Africa Jones and Mama Suki), much more under slavery than under freedom, and all of it under some form of racial terrorism, which had inculcated many humiliating behavior patterns.

    Anyway, that’s background. I think we were kind of typical as African Americans in the pre-civil rights era went.

    So anyway, I was having this argument with my father about Martin Luther King and how his message was too conservative compared to Malcolm X’s message. My father got really angry at me. It wasn’t that he disliked Malcolm X, but his point was that Malcolm X hadn’t accomplished anything as Dr. King had.

    I was kind of sarcastic and asked something like, so what did Martin Luther King accomplish other than giving his “I have a dream speech.”

    Before I tell you what my father told me, I want to digress. Because at this point in our amnesiac national existence, my question pretty much reflects the national civic religion view of what Dr. King accomplished. He gave this great speech. Or some people say, “he marched.” I was so angry at Mrs. Clinton during the primaries when she said that Dr. King marched, but it was LBJ who delivered the Civil Rights Act.

    At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn’t that he “marched” or gave a great speech.

    My father told me with a sort of cold fury, “Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south.”


  2. Viola Liuzzo

    Viola Liuzzo5


    Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo (April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965) was a Unitarian Universalist civil rights activist from Michigan, who was murdered by Ku Klux Klan members after the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches in Alabama. One of the Klansmen in the car from which the shots were fired was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant.

    Liuzzo’s name is one of those inscribed on a civil rights memorial in the state capital. She died at the age of 39.

    Viola Gregg was born in California, Pennsylvania, and moved with her family to Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the age of six. Having grown up the majority of her childhood and adolescence as a poor white southerner in Tennessee, Viola experienced the segregated nature of the South from a very young age. This would eventually have a powerful impact on Liuzzo’s decision to work as an activist. A Tennessee native himself, Viola’s father, Heber Gregg, was a World War II veteran, who later found work in Pennsylvania as a coal miner. There he met and married Viola’s mother, Eva Wilson, and had Viola, and her younger sister Mary, five years later. While on the job, Viola’s father was permanently injured, and no longer could provide for his family. The Greggs became solely dependent on his wife’s income. Work was very hard to come by for Mrs. Gregg, as she could only pick up sporadic teaching jobs that were always short-term positions. The family quickly became poor, and decided to move in pursuit of better job opportunities. [3]

    The Gregg family eventually moved south to Tennessee during the Depression, where Viola’s family experienced extreme poverty, such as living in shacks without plumbing. It was during these formative years Liuzzo realized the unjustness of segregation and racism, as she and her family lived in conditions similar to that of many African Americans, yet her family was still afforded better social privilege due to Jim Crow laws.[4]

    In 1941, the Viola’s family moved to Ypsilanti, where her father sought a job assembling bombs at the Ford Motors Company. It was here where Liuzzo’s stubborn, strong-willed nature is initially exemplified, as she dropped out of high school after one year, and eloped at the age of 16, but divorced within later. Two years later, her family moved to segregated Detroit. At the time, Detroit was a city that had dangerous riot breakouts due to tension between whites and blacks. Witnessing these horrific ordeals was a major motivator that influenced Liuzzo’s future civil rights work.[5]

    In 1943, she married George Argyris. They had two children, Penny and Evangeline Mary, and divorced in 1949.[6] She later married Anthony Liuzzo, a Teamsters union business agent.[6][7] They had three children: Tommy, Anthony, Jr., and Sally.

  3. rikyrah says:

    My favorite passage from A Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

    April 16, 1963

    We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

    We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging dark of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you go forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

  4. Ametia says:

    This is an EXCELLENT compilation of riverting photos and videos, SG2. We must NEVER, ever, FORGET what Dr. King did in service to America and the world. Most importantly we must never forget what he stood for. And the only time hew went down physically was when he was shot and murdered. Long live Dr. King’s memory.

  5. Liza says:

    You’ve done a great job here, SG2. Excellent post.

    Those years in the Deep South are never too far from my consciousness.

  6. Freedom Riders – The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, right, is stopped before entering the whites only waiting room at the Bus Terminal March 6, 1957, in Birmingham, Ala”

    Freedom Riders - The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, right, is stopped before entering the whites only waiting room at the Bus Terminal March 6, 1957, in Birmingham, Ala

  7. Fred Shuttlesworth was soo goodlooking! Fine self!

    Civil rights leaders Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., left, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, center, and Rev. Ralph Abernathy hold a news conference in Birmingham, Ala.

    Civil rights leaders Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., left, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, center, and Rev. Ralph Abernathy hold a news conference in Birmingham, Ala

  8. vitaminlover says:

    You know how much I love the Obamas but I must say that had Dr. King lived a little longer he could have been the first black President. I am very grateful for my Obamas though and I know that they are grateful for Dr. King.

  9. King discusses Kennedy in rediscovered 1960 tape


    NASHVILLE, Tennessee — As Americans reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., an audiotape of an interview with the civil rights leader discovered in a Tennessee attic sheds new light on a famous phone call John F. Kennedy made to King’s wife more than 50 years ago.

    Historians generally agree that Kennedy’s phone call to Coretta Scott King expressing concern over her husband’s arrest in October 1960 — and Robert Kennedy’s work behind the scenes to get King released — helped JFK win the White House a month later.

    King himself, while appreciative, wasn’t as quick to credit the Kennedys alone with getting him out of jail, according to a previously unreleased portion of the interview with the civil rights leader days after Kennedy’s election.

    “The Kennedy family did have some part … in the release,” King says in the recording, which was discovered in 2012. “But I must make it clear that many other forces worked to bring it about also.”

    A copy of the original recording will be played for visitors at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, for a “King Day” event on Monday.

    King was arrested a few weeks before the presidential election at an Atlanta sit-in. Charges were dropped, but King was held for allegedly violating probation for an earlier traffic offense and transferred to the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia.

    The Kennedys intervened, and King was released. Their intervention won the support of black voters who helped give Kennedy the winning edge in several key states.

    Despite their help, however, King was careful not to give them too much credit.

    “I think Dr. King was aware in the tape that he probably did more for John F. Kennedy than perhaps John F. Kennedy did for him,” said Keya Morgan, a New York-based collector and expert on historical artifacts. Morgan acquired the reel-to-reel audiotape from Chattanooga, Tennessee, resident Stephon Tull, who discovered it while cleaning out his father’s attic.

    Raymond Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Maryland’s Morgan State University, said Kennedy’s call to King’s wife was political in nature because the Kennedys had been slow to get involved in the civil rights movement.

    Winbush said John Kennedy didn’t actually commit to the movement until a few months before his assassination when civil rights leader Medgar Evers was gunned down by a Klansman outside his Jackson, Mississippi, home just after midnight on June 12, 1963.

    The slaying came hours after JFK’s television speech in support of civil rights and helped propel the struggle for equality to national attention.

    “There were a lot of black folks who … weren’t fully committed to his campaign,” said Winbush, who is also a historian and psychologist. “That call he made to Coretta moved black folks.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Nelson Mandela and the 1st MLK Day

    100 Amazing Facts About the Negro: From the very beginning, the King holiday reminded us how the struggle for freedom continued.
    By: Henry Louis Gates Jr.
    Posted: Jan. 20 2014 1:00 AM

    Editor’s note: For those who are wondering about the retro title of this black-history series, please take a moment to learn about historian Joel A. Rogers, author of the 1934 book 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof, to whom these “amazing facts” are an homage.

    Amazing Fact About the Negro No. 64: How were Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela linked?

    A Holiday Is Born

    “Martin Luther King, Jr., and his spirit live within all of us. Thank God for the blessing of his life and his leadership and his commitment. What manner of man was this? May we make ourselves worthy to carry on his dream and create the love community.”

    I doubt President Ronald Reagan, quoted above, could imagine that by designating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a federal holiday with these words at a White House Rose Garden ceremony on Nov. 2, 1983, this annual remembrance would be used against him two years later. However, they were used to raise a chorus of voices against Reagan on the international stage for his failure to support the end of apartheid in South Africa and the freeing of Nelson Mandela.

    It’s not that Reagan was blind to the King mystique, or to his revolutionary ways. (In fact, at a press conference in October 1983, Reagan let dangle the old smear that King had been a “communist sympathizer” and, in a private letter, wrote that when evaluating the civil rights movement’s slain leader, “the perception of too many people is based on an image, not reality.”) Yet, in signing the King Holiday Bill that Congress had passed, perhaps Reagan assumed he had earned political capital with his critics on the left who so far had been unimpressed with his record on civil rights. Perhaps he also thought that by quoting the “I Have a Dream” speech, he could transform Dr. King’s prophetic message—of social and economic justice, of nonviolence at home and abroad—into a politically conservative vision of a color-blind America.

    He was wrong.

    By the time the first national MLK Day rolled around on Jan. 20, 1986, it was impossible for anyone who had listened to the “reality” of King’s speeches—and seen him march in places ranging from Selma and Birmingham, Ala., to Chicago and Cicero, Ill.—to ignore the extent to which the Reagan administration was dragging its feet on expanding sanctions on the most brutally color-conscious system the world had tangled with since Jim Crow: South African apartheid. At the same time, perhaps, Reagan had underestimated King’s apostles, above all his widow, Coretta Scott King. She understood that to give her husband’s birthday relevancy and resonance—indeed, to live up to his example—they had to do more than remember past injustices overcome. They had to dedicate the holiday to confronting present injustice wherever found, and that would draw their attention to Robben Island and apartheid South Africa.

    A Tale of 2 Prisoners

    Their cause on that first MLK Day was galvanizing support for the abolition of apartheid, a violent, degrading system of racial segregation that South Africa’s white minority-run government had implemented before anyone (including Coretta) had even heard of Martin Luther King Jr. But the parallels between the struggle he eventually led in America in the 1960s and those of some 25 million black South Africans in the 1980s were unmistakable: de facto and de jure segregation as a legal and living reality in every imaginable sphere, including restrictions on black home ownership (whites owned 80-90 percent of the land), access to schooling and jobs, and to the most fundamental human rights: whom a black person could love and marry, where he could travel and how he could defend himself in and out of court. If anything, apartheid was even more extreme than Jim Crow, despite the fact that unlike in America, black South Africans accounted for 75 percent of the country’s population.


  11. Yahtc says:

    MLK email from Interim President of NAACP

    Today we celebrate the incredible life, legacy, and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    In recent years, our nation has taken to promoting one of the central tenets of Dr. King’s great life: his dedication to service. Today, NAACP staff, members, and supporters all over the country will participate in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service opportunities and events in their communities.

    Or if you haven’t participated in a service project yet, visit serve.gov to find an opportunity near you.

    Of the chance to serve, Dr. King once said:

    Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
    And serve, he did. Dr. King was a leader in service to others, to the causes of civil and human rights, and to making the United States a great nation—for all.

    We’re proud to honor his legacy, today and all days. And we hope you will be a part of it.

    Thank you,

    Lorraine C. Miller
    Interim President and CEO

  12. Yahtc says:


    Diana Ross Sings Reach Out And Touch [Somebody’s Hand] On An All-Star Celebration Honoring Martin Luther King Jr [1986]

  13. Yahtc says:

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  15. Yahtc says:


    Rare song from 1986, dedicated to Martin Luther King. Song by King Dream Chorus and Holiday Crew. Also starring El DeBarge, Fat Boys, Full Force, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Kurtis Blow, Stacy Lattisaw, Lisa Lisa, Teena Marie, Menudo, Stephanie Mills, New Edition, Run-D.M.C., James “J.T.” Taylor and Whodini.

  16. Yahtc says:

  17. Yahtc says:


    Uploaded on Jan 20, 2008 by little doggies
    Martin Luther King Jr. “We shall overcome!”

  18. Yahtc says:


    Uploaded on Jun 24, 2010 by Iron Age Theater
    Part one of two
    Walter DeShields as Martin Luther King reading from Letter from a Birmingham Jail in front of the historic, closed Montgomery County Prison in Norristown as part of the Norristown Juneteenth Celebration and Tour produced by Iron Age Theatre and the NAACP Youth Council.

  19. Yahtc says:


    Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) delivers his famous “How Long, Not Long” speech on the steps of the state capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama .

  20. Yahtc says:

    “15 of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Most Inspiring Motivational Quotes ”

    1. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

    2. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

    3. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”

    4. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

    5. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

    6. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

    7. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

    8. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

    9. “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

    10. “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.”

    11. “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

    12. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

    13. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

    14. “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

    15. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”


  21. Yahtc says:

    Here is an excerpt that I copied from Attorney Fred Gray’s book “Bus Ride to Justice” (pp. 57-58):

    These talks were for many their first glimpse of the genius that was within Martin Luther King, Jr. He was elected president of the MIA at a meeting at which he was not present, at Zion A.M.E. Church on South Holt and Stone streets. He presided over a cross section of preachers, three college professors (including one woman), two physicians, three housewives, a Pullman porter, and most of the rest being preachers.

    He soon became the favorite of all of them. He rose in stature to the point that many of the women who attended mass meeting after mass meeting could be heard to say, “Just let me touch his garmet.”

    Yet Martin appeared to have never lost the common touch. He could calm the rivalries which arose among some of the ministers on occasion. Before MIA board meetings, Martin was always alert to congratulate someone for some deed of kindness.

    He was jovial, at a well-bred ease and aware of events in the neighborhood, or asking those present about matters which might have escaped him. But those qualities were qualities which were generally not yet realized on the night of the first mass meeting.”

  22. Yahtc says:

    Here is what John Lewis wrote about Martin Luther King in his autobiography entitled “Walking with the Wind.” —

    And, then on a Sunday morning in early 1955, I was listening to our radio, turned to WRMA out of Montgomery, as always, when on the air came a sermon by a voice that I’d never heard before, a young minister from Atlanta. I didn’t catch his name until the sermon was finished, but the voice held me from the start. It was a strong voice, a deep voice, clearly well trained and well schooled in the rhythmic singsong, old-style tradition of black Baptist preaching we call whooping. There’s a creative pacing to that style of sermonizing, a cadence, with lots of crescendos and dramatic pauses and drawing out of word endings as if holding a note of a song. It’s so much like singing. He really could make his words SING.

    But, even more than his voice, it was his message that sat me bolt upright with amazement. His sermon was titled “Paul’s Letter to the American Christians.” He’d taken it from Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, in which Paul criticized complacent Christians for their selfishness and failures of brotherhood. He adapted it to what was happening here, right now, on the streets of Montgomery, Alabama. I listened, as this man spoke about how it wasn’t enough for black people to be concerned only with getting to the Promised Land in the hereafter, about how it was not enough for people to be concerned with roads that are paved with gold, and the gates to the Kingdom of God.

    He said we needed to be concerned with the gates of schools that were closed to black people and the doors of stores that refused to hire or serve us. His message was one of love and the Gospel, but he was applying those principles to NOW, to today. Every minister I’d ever heard talked about “over yonder,” where we’d put on the white robes and golden slippers and sit with the angels. But this man was talking about dealing with the problems people were facing in their lives right now, specifically black lives in the South.

    This was the first time I had ever heard something I would soon learn was called the social gospel–taking the teachings of the Bible and applying them to the earthbound problems and issues confronting a community and a society.

    I was on fire with the words I was hearing. I felt that this man–his name was Martin Luther King Jr.–was speaking directly to me. This young preacher was giving voice to everything I’d been feeling and fighting to figure out for years.

    When I got to school that Monday, I went straight to the library to find out anything I could about this man. There wasn’t much, but I did come across a small newspaper article describing his appointment the previous September as resident pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery.

  23. Yahtc says:


    Uploaded on Aug 5, 2008
    Martin Luther King is a heart felt poem Glenis Redmond presents. This poem is an emotional powerhouse and show what a great inspiration Martin Luther King Jr. is to the world

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