A Day that Directly Confronts the Sorrows and Death We Must Forever Negotiate

KingFrom the preface to Michael Eric Dyson’s April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America (2008):

When Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered, I was a nine-year-old school boy. I had no idea who he was, had never heard his name or seen him in action. Just as technology had allowed him to speak at his own funeral, it offered me my first glimpse of King’s oratorical magic. Like so many folk born after he died, I first met King on television. I was sitting on the living room floor of my inner city Detroit home. “Martin Luther King, Jr., has just been shot in Memphis, Tennessee,” the newsman announced, interrupting whatever program we were watching. My father sat behind me in his favorite chair. He was barely able to utter “humph.” It was one of those compressed sighs that held back far more pain than it let loose. It came from deep inside his body, an involuntary reflex like somebody had punched him in the gut… Continue reading “A Day that Directly Confronts the Sorrows and Death We Must Forever Negotiate”

Morally Coherent & Socially Irresistible

Michael Eric DysonExcerpted from Michael Eric-Dyson’s “Abraham, Isaac and Us,” reposted from OnBeing.org:

The only meaningful interpretation of transcendence we might propose is to strip the term of its philosophical and theological orthodoxy and offer instead a more forceful definition. Truth can be described as transcendent if it illumines the time and place of its emergence as well as other places and periods. Truth’s transcendence is not pegged to its authoritative reflection of an unchanging reality that everyone would agree on if they had access to it. Truth happens when we recognize the expression of a compelling and irrefutable description of reality. Truth is not irrefutable because it appeals to ideals that escape the fingerprints of time and reason. Truth is irrefutable because it is morally coherent and socially irresistible. Continue reading “Morally Coherent & Socially Irresistible”

We Have Been Ambushed

mlkFrom Michael Eric Dyson in his book I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr:

At the heart of the conservative appropriation of King’s vision is the argument that King was an advocate of a color-blind society. Hence, any policy or position that promotes color consciousness runs counter to King’s philosophy…”I have a dream,” King eloquently yearned, “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Of the hundreds of thousands of words that King spoke, few others have had more impact than these thirty-four, uttered when he was thirty-four years old, couched in his most famous oration. Tragically, King’s American dream has been seized and distorted by a group of conservative citizens whose forebears and ideology have trampled King’s legacy. Continue reading “We Have Been Ambushed”