By Tommy Airey
Way back in the wide-open fields of the Clinton years, the seed of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was planted in me during a semester with Professor Bill Tuttle at the University of Kansas. Way back then, I was attending Campus Crusade bible study on Wednesdays, drinking a 12-pack of beer on Fridays and going to an all-white Evangelical church on Sundays. My spiritual life was a complete circus. Way back then, I struggled to make the simple connection that Dr. King was a Christian and that his perspective on Jesus was completely different than what my white Evangelical mentors and heroes were pitching. Continue reading
From James Cone’s The Cross and The Lynching Tree (2013):
Just as Jesus knew he could be executed when he went to Jerusalem, Martin Luther King, Jr., knew that threats against his life could be realized in Memphis. Like Jesus’ disciples who rejected the idea that his mission entailed his suffering and death (Mk 8:31-32), nearly everyone in King’s organization vigorously opposed his journey to Memphis, not only because of the dangers but because of the need to focus on the coming Poor People’s Campaign in Washington. But King, like Jesus, felt he had no choice: he had to go to Memphis and aid the garbage workers in their struggle for dignity, better wages, and a safer work place. He had to go because his faith demanded it.
Photo credit: The Guardian
By Bill Wylie-Kellermann
I remember precisely where I was when I got the news of Martin Luther King’s assassination. It was my freshman year in college, a midwestern liberal arts school, and I’d just walked into the lounge of my dormitory when a bulletin broke into regular TV programing. The lone other student, whose face and name I mercifully do not recall, was seated high on the back of an overstuffed black leather chair. He muttered, “Somebody finally got that n****r.” I remember running the length of hall to the pay phone booth and calling my folks in Detroit, weeping into the receiver. In those tears, something shifted in me vocationally that day which bears on who I am. Continue reading
From Jyarland Daniels, the executive director of Harriet Speaks:
April 4th will be upon us soon, and we will read articles like this for days. I want to ask (read: beg) you to remember language matters.
This article says, “50 Years After Dr. King’s Death…” “Death” is also used throughout the article. If we stop and think about the word “death” for a moment we see history is being sanitized and re-written before our very eyes.
You see, “Death” is the word we use when someone does of old age, or perhaps after a battle with an illness, or even an accident. But Dr. King was MURDERED. And not only that, but we now know that this government was complicit in his murder.
Language matters. Words matter. If we aren’t willing to tell the truth and use the right language for how King died, then we aren’t ready to talk about what his life meant.
The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture has no connection whatsoever to the government. It is a people-powered department—a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging. The USDAC is calling on artists, creative organizers, concerned citizens, and all community members to join together from April 2-8, 2018, to draw inspiration from and breathe new life into the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., strengthening our commitment to speak truth to power and sparking creative action in the year ahead. Below are some ideas that the USDAC has provided to help spark the imagination.
MORE INFO ON #REVOLUTIONOFVALUES:
“Radical” is a much maligned word: it comes from the Latin radix (root), and refers to anything that goes to the root of the matter, rather than tinkering with the leaves and branches. Many people have downplayed Dr. King’s deep spiritual and political radicalism, trying to whitewash his true views. Now it is more important than ever to use our creativity to nourish the roots of love and justice. Continue reading
From The Undefeated and ESPN collaborating on a tremendous series called The State of the Black Athlete:
Martin Luther King Jr. penned his Letter from Birmingham Jail in a narrow cell on newspaper margins, scraps of paper and smuggled-in legal pads. He had no notes or reference materials. Yet, King’s eloquent defense of nonviolent protest and searing critique of moderation continues to resonate in a nation still divided by race. Continue reading
By Bill Wylie-Kellermann
Spirit of the Universe, whose moral arc you make to bend toward justice,
thank you for birthing our brother Martin, right on time, into our history, into the journey of transformation for which we yearn. For uttering him in the Word, and forming him in the womb.
We lift him up this day in the communion of ancestors, summoning him from among all who have ever interceded and struggled for justice. Continue reading