Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fifty Years Ago Today...

Half a century since Martin Luther King gave his most famous speech.  What a difference 50 years can make.  Whenever I think of MLK Jr. I am taken back to a small Kindergarten classroom in rural Iowa where, as a student teacher, I witnessed the saddest display of "teaching" I've ever seen.  It was a lesson on Martin Luther King Jr, complete with coloring sheet, ignorance and blatant, yet unintentional, racism.  Perhaps the worst affliction is to hold a bias we don't even know that we have.  This teacher had good intentions, but her life had never allowed her to intersect with those who were different from her.  I swore that day that I would go out of my way to intentionally expose myself to a rainbow of people, and this led me to some wonderful years of teaching, some wonderful friendships, and the chance to be inspired by people, black, white and in between, who do truly work tirelessly towards justice.  50 years after the "I Have a Dream" speech, we still have a LONG way to go towards racial equality, but we are further down that road than we were.  Here are a few of my favorite MLK quotes and a few cute pictures for good measure :)

"I have a dream that 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." Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." Martin Luther King, Jr.

 "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." Martin Luther King, Jr.

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

"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." Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." Martin Luther King, Jr.

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