Tag Archives: MLK

A Leader for All Seasons: Martin Luther King, Jr.

I just got back from the annual San Francisco Labor Council Martin Luther King Day Breakfast. Of course, it was a jam-packed event featuring a speech from our new interim mayor, Ed Lee, as well as some speeches by local youth discussing the effect that King had on their lives.

As I was listening, particularly to the children, I was struck by something.  This was a leader that was assassinated over a generation ago, yet he is just as real today as he was that day in Memphis when his life was cut far too short.  Yet, while his martyrdom for the cause of equality will have an effect on all Americans, and hopefully the entire human race, his legacy as an active leader on the day-to-day front lines for equality is astounding.

Along with leaders like Dorothy Height and Bayard Rustin, they brought about change in a revolutionary timeline. And yet, it is clear that King’s message goes beyond one group, he belongs to all of us now.  He was a leader that strove for equality for all, for the rich and the poor. He fought for those who were unpopular, and made difficult decisions to do so.

He was never one to back down from a fight, and he was a man who understood the power of organizing.  Even when it is bleakest, we can and must continue to keep our heads up, and stay in the struggle.

Have a good holiday, and consider this an open thread for any discussion.

Another thought on MLK

I wanted to follow up on MLK’s assassination. I know Dave touched briefly on it, but as I was listening to NPR today, I heard this report about Nina Simone’s performance a few days later.  Forturnately, somebody put the song up on YouTube a while ago, so we can all hear the song. The performance where this was recorded was just a few days after King’s death, and the emotion is visibly raw.

Simone was one of the most talented singers of her age, and the musical talent comes through in the song that she learned in a day. But what comes through more clearly is how personal and powerful this moment was for her.

We are headed for the brink

What’s going to happen?

Now that the King of Love is Dead?

King struggled with many of the same issues that we deal with today. He was publicly anti-war when it was hugely unpopular. And to this day we still fight with inequalities in American society. The struggle for equality is not a fight that has an end. It is still far from clear what is going to happen now that the King of Love is dead.