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Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did

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. The reason I'm posting this is because there were dueling diaries over the weekend about Dr. King's legacy, and there is a diary up now ... entitled, "Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dream Not Yet Realized." I'm sure the diarist means well as did the others. But 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. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 20, 2014 - 99 comments

"It is a sad story, but there is a joy that came out of it."

Fifty years ago this morning, Addie Mae Collins (age 14), Denise McNair (age 11), Carole Robertson (age 14), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14) lost their lives when a bomb set by the KKK went off in the basement of their church in Montgomery, Alabama. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 15, 2013 - 22 comments

The Misremembering of ‘I Have a Dream’

Fifty years after the March on Washington, Dr. King’s most famous speech, like his own political legacy, is widely misunderstood.
posted by brundlefly on Aug 23, 2013 - 51 comments

Audio recordings of 1964 interviews with Civil Rights activists

Robert Penn Warren's book Who Speaks for the Negro? was a collection of interviews with various men and women involved in the Civil Rights Movement published in 1965. Vanderbilt University has made all the interviews available as audio and transcripts, taken from the original reel-to-reel recordings. Among the interviewees were Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Septima Poinsette Clark, Ralph Ellison, Stokely Carmichael, James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin. On the page for each interview there are links to related documents, such as letters, photos and contemporary news articles.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 5, 2013 - 13 comments

American Rhetoric

Perhaps slightly obscurred by its charmingly primitive web design, my new favorite website is a fantastic reference resource for delving into American speeches that have changed history as well as discovering new amazing ones. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jun 17, 2013 - 5 comments

Data Storage in DNA Becomes a Reality

"The researchers began with the computer files from some notable cultural highlights: an audio recording of MLK Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and, appropriately, a copy of Watson and Crick’s original research paper describing DNA’s double helix structure. On a hard drive, these files are stored as a series of zeros and ones. The researchers worked out a system to translate the binary code into one with four characters instead: A, C, G and T. They used this genetic code to synthesize actual strands of DNA with the content embedded in its very structure. The ouput was actually pretty unimpressive: just a smidgeon of stuff barely visible at the bottom of a test tube. The wow factor arose when they reversed the process. The researchers sequenced the genome of the data-laden DNA and translated it back into zeros and ones. The result was a re-creation of the original content without a single error, according to the results published in Nature on Wednesday."
posted by SpacemanStix on Jan 26, 2013 - 37 comments

The king of love is dead.

On April 7, 1968 - three days after Martin Luther King's assassination - Nina Simone performed the Martin Luther King Suite for the first time at the Westbury Music Festival in NY: Sunday in Savannah, Why (The King of Love is Dead), Mississippi Goddam.
posted by ChuraChura on Jan 21, 2013 - 13 comments

...one day right there in Alabama little blue squares and green squares will be able to line up with little white squares and yellow squares as sides of a cube.

MLK mural in reverse-solved Rubik's Cubes.
posted by univac on Oct 3, 2012 - 16 comments

The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'check enclosed'.

Dorothy Parker left her entire estate to Martin Luther King, Jr. Her close friend Lillian Hellman, who was the executor of Parker's estate, bitterly contested this decision but lost. [more inside]
posted by bendy on Aug 28, 2012 - 36 comments

King Center Archive

The King Center archive launched a new web interface this year, featuring online access to thousands of historical documents relating to Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.
posted by latkes on Jan 23, 2012 - 9 comments

The fans want the feeling of A Tribe Called Quest / But all they got left is this guy called West

Here's never before seen footage of a teenage Kanye West performing at the Double Door in Chicago in 1996 (YouTube) Want to go farther back in time? After posting the 1996 video DDotOmen readers uncovered footage of a 12 year old West, performing "His Name Means Love," a poem he wrote in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, at Vanderpoel Elementary School in 1990. (YouTube) [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Jan 17, 2012 - 15 comments

"The author ran out of time, leaving plenty of stories untold."

How Gil Scott-Heron and Stevie Wonder set up Martin Luther King Day, with audio slideshow. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jan 16, 2012 - 15 comments

This post contains Seasonal CBC awesome - Happy [safe] (upcoming) Holidays - Just Saying

This year the CBC Massey Lectures celebrates fifty years with bestselling author, essayist, cultural observer, and famed New Yorker contributor Adam Gopnik. His subject is winter - the season, the space, the cycle. Gopnik takes us on an intimate tour of the artists, poets, composers, writers, explorers, scientists, and thinkers, who helped shape a new and modern idea of winter. Listen to Winter: Five Windows on the Season Streaming files for this years lecture will be available until Friday, November 18. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Nov 14, 2011 - 11 comments

Why Oh Why Can't I?

It's been missing from YouTube for almost a year, but finally someone has resurrected the iconic video of Patti Labelle building up to a massive "Over The Rainbow" explosion at a 1984 tribute to MLK Jr.
posted by hermitosis on Sep 26, 2011 - 44 comments

AskMLKFi

Do you lack self confidence? Not sure what you should do after high school? Having trouble finding a nice young man? Are your friends interested in nothing but scotch, girlie magazines and gin? Ask Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about it. He's got Advice for Living. [more inside]
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow on Aug 29, 2011 - 28 comments

I have a dream...

The Washington Mall welcomes another hero. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is unveiled. Sitting directly between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, "the composition of the [King] memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King's message: justice, democracy, hope and love." [more inside]
posted by darkstar on Aug 22, 2011 - 72 comments

"Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it." — Emerson

‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." In the wake of bin Laden's killing, partially fabricated misquotations were circulated widely via Twitter and Facebook. [more inside]
posted by RogerB on May 3, 2011 - 247 comments

Something is happening in our world: Memphis, Cairo, Madison

Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee -- the cry is always the same: "We want to be free."
Forty-three years ago today, a man was killed while protecting workers' rights to bargain collectively.
posted by orthogonality on Apr 4, 2011 - 54 comments

They have a dream too.

In 2009, the question was asked: Can a comic book change the Middle East? [more inside]
posted by cereselle on Feb 16, 2011 - 5 comments

Not your typical SLYT post

High school student "comes out" to entire school on MLK Day. Extraordinary.
posted by scalefree on Jan 27, 2011 - 35 comments

"I don't think Dr. King would have minded him making a little money on the side.''

Civil Rights Photographer Unmasked as Informer. This week, The Commercial Appeal in Memphis published the results of a two year investigation that revealed that iconic Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers was also a paid FBI informant. The timing of the report is awkward.
posted by availablelight on Sep 14, 2010 - 53 comments

March in August

Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous, "I have a dream speech". The Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP, National Action Network and others will hold a rally starting a Dunbar High School. Glenn Beck and conservative leaders will hold a rally of their own on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Graduate students studying journalism and the media at American University are covering the events with a team of embedded bloggers.
posted by humanfont on Aug 28, 2010 - 290 comments

give up that dream

It is not our role to take power. It is our role to make the powerful frightened of us. And that's what we've forgotten. Give up that dream! Chris Hedges talks neoliberalism and neofeudalism, the civil rights movement, Camden, Obama, Clinton, Tea Parties, moral nihilism, inverted totalitarianism and corpocracy, NAFTA, welfare reform, health care, labor, poverty, Yugoslavia, post-industrial capitalism, economic crisis, imperial collapse, socialism, and democracy, among other things. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Apr 24, 2010 - 51 comments

"I have some very sad news for all of you..."

Someone had to break the news. [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Apr 4, 2010 - 45 comments

Dr. King: "...if I had sneezed, I would have died."

MLK Jr: The First Attempt : Nearly 10 years before he was assassinated, as Dr. King signed copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom, Izola Ware Curry, a part-time maid from Georgia, stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener, nearly puncturing his aorta. Though she was eventually indicted for attempted murder, Ms. Curry was found incompetent to stand trial and committed to Matteawan State Hospital for the criminally insane. Characteristically, Dr. King forgave her and requested that she be rehabilitated as a productive member of society. [more inside]
posted by Alison on Jan 18, 2010 - 7 comments

Civil Rights Superheroes

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story: "People were told to read it, memorize it, and destroy it because if they were caught with it, they could be killed." The story of this influential comic book, which helped inspire the 1960 Woolworth's sit-in, is the subject of a new exhibition at Pittsburgh's Toonseum.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jan 18, 2010 - 8 comments

What the World Needs Now

What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love (Abraham, Martin and John) (direct mp3 link), via My Life, h4cK3D!.
posted by alms on Aug 29, 2009 - 10 comments

“…If you stand up straight, people can’t ride your back. And that’s what we did. We stood up straight.”

When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated April 4, 1968, he was helping sanitation workers in Memphis form a union. In 1967, SCLC initiated the Poor People's Campaign to unify the African-American civil rights movement with working people's movements more generally. In MLK's words, "It must not be just black people, it must be all poor people. We must include American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and even poor whites." [more inside]
posted by univac on Apr 4, 2009 - 20 comments

A shot rang out in the Memphis sky ~ U2 "Pride"

"Early morning April 4..." Memphis. 1968. Life reveals the aftermath of the assassination Of Dr. Martin Luther King in photos never before revealed and not an easy click. MLK May your dreams be realized. [more inside]
posted by will wait 4 tanjents on Apr 3, 2009 - 68 comments

The Dream is Alive

Happy Birthday Dr. King. Today is Martin Luther King Day. He was born 80 years ago, on January 15th, 1929. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just thirty-nine years old. Tomorrow, more than four decades after Dr. King’s death, Barack Obama will take his oath of office to become the 44th president of the United States and the first African American president in US history. The Reverend Joseph Lowery, a civil rights icon who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr, King, will deliver the benediction at the inauguration ceremony. Obama accepted the Democratic party nomination on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, arguably his most famous address. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor and organized the Poor People"s Campaign to address issues of economic justice. Dr. King was also a fierce critic US foreign policy and the Vietnam War. [more inside]
posted by caddis on Jan 19, 2009 - 30 comments

Martin Luther King's Anti-Imperialism

King's Anti-Imperialism and the Challenge for Obama.
posted by homunculus on Jan 19, 2009 - 23 comments

A Speech So Stirring It Converted Pat Buchanan

On the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Barack Obama accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party to be their Presidential candidate with a speech so well-crafted that Pat bloody Buchanan couldn't stop raving about it, and had to be cut off by his fellow broadcasters. It was an occasion so historic that McCain chose to release an ad congratulating his opponent.
posted by WCityMike on Aug 28, 2008 - 235 comments

Robert F. Kennedy on the death of Dr. King

"In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in." Robert F. Kennedy on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., killed 40 years ago today.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Apr 4, 2008 - 17 comments

The Unmaking of the President

Lyndon Johnson believed that his withdrawal from the 1968 presidential campaign would free him to solidify his legacy—but four days later, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
posted by veedubya on Mar 31, 2008 - 8 comments

Martin Luther King - Always Worth Listening To

"I have a dream..." Take 17 minutes out of your day and remember. And then maybe take a look at this NY Times slide show of murals depicting Dr. King. Feel free, in fact please do, add appropriate links and suggestions in the comments section.
posted by brookeb on Jan 21, 2008 - 40 comments

Beyond Viet Nam - April 4, 1967

A year to the day before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered this speech at Riverside Church, New York City. In the last years of his life, King moved beyond anti-segregation activism to a broader indictment of American class structure and foreign policy. This is The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV.
posted by Mister_A on Jan 15, 2007 - 56 comments

Now this kind of rap I can DIG!!

The King Dream Chorus and Holiday Crew Twenty years ago various rap artists got together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (taking some inspiration from Artists Against Apartheid). You'd think Grandmaster Melle Mel, Kurtis Blow, and Run-D.M.C. would be enough. But you'd be wrong. Lisa Lisa, Teena Marie, Fat Boys, and El DeBarge wanted in, too. All kinds of youtubey goodness here, including Ricky Martin as part of Menudo, and several solos by a scrumptious Whitney Houston. Lyrics are here, and you can buy the single here
posted by Kibbutz on Jan 14, 2007 - 2 comments

Dora McDonald, Martin Luther King's secretary, dead at 81

Dora McDonald, Martin Luther King's private secretary from 1960 until his death, has died at age 81. While few have heard of Ms. McDonald, she was a very important figure in King's work, and was the one who had to tell Coretta Scott King that her husband had been murdered.
posted by cerebus19 on Jan 14, 2007 - 6 comments

Remember Segregation

Remember Segregation - Founded in the core belief that segregation is, was and has always been wrong, this campaign is intended to make people stop, think and perhaps get a little uncomfortable in the process of realizing the modern day importance of Dr. King's life.
posted by bluedaniel on Jan 16, 2006 - 28 comments

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal

Why we have a Martin Luther King Day. What an amazing speech. [Coral cache][via]
posted by Malor on Jan 15, 2006 - 48 comments

Unforgiveable Dumbness

Weatherman fired for on-air MLK day racial slur. I hope someone has video because I wouldn't mind seeing this dood go out like a sucka.
posted by wbm$tr on Jan 17, 2005 - 106 comments

Florida town changes MLK street name

Florida town changes MLK street name What's in a name, asked Shakespeare. Everything, it seems.
posted by Postroad on May 11, 2004 - 41 comments

Martin on the Money

Put MLK on the $20 Bill. Conservatives have clamored to put Ronald Reagan on the dime or the $10 bill. One outfit wants to name something after Reagan in each of the US's counties. Why not put one of "the greatest moral leaders of the 20th century" on one of our most commonly used pieces of currency instead? (Better to have King on the $20 than Andrew Jackson, whose unconstitutional Indian Removal policy created the "Trail of Tears.")
posted by Vidiot on Jan 19, 2004 - 59 comments

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's Birthday

In his own words ... On this holiday celebrating the achievements of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his words continue to have meaning for both blacks and whites, conservatives and liberals. Most people are familiar with his I Have a Dream Speech but also noteworthy are The Purpose of Education, The Negro and the Constitution, his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, his Letter from Birmingham Jail -- which some have argued should be added to the canon of Scripture -- and his final I See the Promised Land remarks delivered the day before his death.
posted by marcusb on Jan 20, 2003 - 3 comments

So Let it Rain

Two score years ago, a great American, whose birthday we celebrate every year with a three-day weekend, stood in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and uttered those famous words, "I Have A Dream." Five years later, older and weary, saddened and yet emboldened for a new task, that man was assassinated in Memphis. He has rightly become an American icon, a symbol of all that we consider great about our nation. And yet is is the very fact of his apotheosis that has done his dream the most damage. Safely iconized and sanitized, MLK has been used cynically by his most bitter opponents, to ends he very clearly opposed during his life. The man who considered himself a democratic socialist, and who supported both reparations and affirmative action is used by conservatives to stymie the efforts of his philosophical and activist heirs. Some of them, like U2's Bono, want to save Africans from AIDS. Others, like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, suggest a 10-year moratorium on the famous speech, so that we can pay attention to other, more important statements. King's last great effort was not a march to combat racism but rather a new initiative to end poverty, the Poor People’s Campaign. Thirty-five years later, the gap between rich and poor is larger than ever in this country, and our president, who claims to follow the same religion that underwrote all King said, did and thought, is conducting a war not on poverty, but on the poor. How many of us who, like G.W. Bush, pay lip service to the ideas of King and of Christ will stop stalling and stand up for justice?
posted by eustacescrubb on Jan 17, 2003 - 47 comments

Thank Mahalia Jackson for King's "I have a dream."

Thank Mahalia Jackson for King's "I have a dream." "On August 28, 1963, under a nearly cloudless sky, more than 250,000 people, a fifth of them white, gathered near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to rally for 'jobs and freedom.'... Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had originally prepared a short and somewhat formal recitation of the sufferings of African Americans attempting to realize their freedom in a society chained by discrimination. He was about to sit down when gospel singer Mahalia Jackson called out, 'Tell them about your dream, Martin! Tell them about the dream!' Encouraged by shouts from the audience, King drew upon some of his past talks, and the result became the landmark statement of civil rights in America--a dream of all people, of all races and colors and backgrounds, sharing in an America marked by freedom and democracy."
posted by Carol Anne on Jan 21, 2002 - 16 comments

Happy MLK Day.

Happy MLK Day.
posted by Ty Webb on Jan 21, 2002 - 35 comments

2 students shot in MLK Jr. HS yesterday.

2 students shot in MLK Jr. HS yesterday. "A gunman sneaked into Martin Luther King Jr. HS yesterday through a side door - evading 14 safety agents, two cops and metal-detectors - and shot and seriously wounded two boys headed to class, officials said. "

"The fact that the shooting occurred on King’s birthday was a "cruel irony," said [Manhattan Board of Education member Irving ] Hamer. King and the school stand for non-violence, he said, and "instead, we get a shooting."
posted by bkdelong on Jan 16, 2002 - 13 comments

Two words: Bad Taste

Two words: Bad Taste The Washington Post today is running an article on Alcatels new pitchman, Martin Luther King, Jr! Yes! MLK joins the likes of John Wayne and Alfred Hitchcock as undead spokespeople.
posted by cornbread on Mar 28, 2001 - 47 comments

"I was there!"

"I was there!" If you read the comments about Bob Doran's death threats against Clinton in this thread, you may get a kick out the photo of him "marching with Martin Luther King Jr." that's on Doran's site.
posted by gluechunk on Aug 10, 2000 - 7 comments

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