Featured

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – 50 Years Later

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A tribute by Jill Dennison

Advertisements

Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was a giant among men. He led by his words, his actions, and the way he lived his life. Today, I have the distinct privilege to welcome one of the most gifted bloggers I know and my very good friend, Jill Dennison, to Words To Captivate. Jill has taught college courses in the USA on Black History in America and is an ardent fan of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On this 50th anniversary of MLK’s assassination, it is fitting that Jill shares with us how important this leader was in his own day and continues to be in the present because his work is not yet done. Thank you, Jill, for agreeing to be my guest today.

 

Every now and then an individual passes through this world who leaves behind an indelible mark, who is credited, deservingly, with having changed the world. Such an individual will be recorded in the annals of history long after the rest of us are but a vague and distant memory to future generations. Often, it seems, these individuals do not live long, leave much undone, but still, they made a difference far greater than those who may live to be a hundred. The life of one such man was cut short exactly fifty years ago today. That man was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

New York Times Article

There are numerous King biographies, some excellent. Many have written of his life, have paid tribute to him in a variety of ways. It is not my intent to add another to the tall stack, but merely to look at what it was that set MLK apart, that made him the shining star that influenced presidents and ordinary folk alike. And to pay a bit of tribute to a great man, and speak briefly of the legacy he left that, though it seems to be forgotten sometimes, is still with us today, even though Dr. King is not. Three things, I think, set Martin Luther King apart from the rest: his uncanny ability to know the right words for the right time, his oratory ‘gift’, and his peaceful, nonviolent approach.

MLK with a little girl

Some things cannot be learned – not from a textbook, not from parental or church guidance, nor even from life’s experiences. King’s timing in most things was impeccable, and it wasn’t something he learned, but rather just a knack he had. He knew when it was time to speak softly, but knew when it was time to raise his voice. He knew when the time and cause were right, such as when he organized the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955-56. He seemed to simply understand that Rosa Parks was the right cause and that the timing was right.

MLK + I have a dream quote

To this day, I cannot listen to King’s I Have A Dream speech without a chill running through me and tears welling in my eyes. Never before nor since have I heard anybody who could speak like Martin Luther King – not even John F. Kennedy, though he was an excellent orator. There was something about Martin, though, that made people listen, whether he was speaking quietly or booming into a microphone. You might not agree with what he was saying, but you could not help but listen. This, too, was a gift – it was not a learned skill, not even a talent really, not something practiced – it just was.

MLK in jail

Martin Luther King was, above all else, a peaceful activist. Despite this, he was arrested and sent to jail no less than 29 times during his life! One of those times was for driving 30 mph in a 25 mph zone – no racial profiling here! It was during one of his stints in the Birmingham, Alabama jail in 1963 that King penned what would become his most famous written document, Letter From A Birmingham Jail. He wrote the letter on newspaper margins, scraps of paper and smuggled-in legal pads. He had no notes or reference materials. His letter is timeless and so much of it still resonates today, 55 years later. For example, he called out the white church for being an “arch supporter of the status quo,” and castigated its ministers for failing to recognize the black man as their brother. We look at the evangelical Christian churches today and wish we could send a copy of King’s letter to each and every one. The letter is long … nearly 7,000 words … thus I cannot replicate it here but will include a link to the .pdf file for anyone who would like to read it.

https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Letter_Birmingham_Jail.pdf

And later that year, in August, Martin gave his iconic I Have A Dream speech that touched the hearts of so many.

 

Many, perhaps most, believe that King was killed because he was becoming too radical, steering further than just wanting “whites only” signs taken down. His focus had expanded to include the war in Vietnam, and in 1968 he was trying to build an interracial coalition to end the war in Vietnam and force major economic reforms. There are many theories about his assassination that I steer clear of, for as with the assassination of JFK almost five years earlier, I suspect the full truth will never be known. I prefer, instead, to focus on his legacy, to remember and remind others of the timeless lessons that he left us. The essence of Martin Luther King’s legacy, I think, can be summed by a few of his most poignant quotes:

MLK Quote: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

MLK Quote: The Ultimate measure of a man...

MLK Quote: In the end...

MLK Quote: Injustice anywhere...

MLK Quote: That old law...

MLK Quote: Darkness cannot drive...

Did Martin Luther King put an end to racism? No, of course not. But he showed the world that it is possible, with determination, strength, and courage, to make a difference without the use of violence. He proved to us that it is possible to love everyone as brothers if we just open our hearts and our minds. Sadly, far too many have forgotten this, and today when I look around, I see nobody with those innate qualities Dr. King had that gave him the power to change the world, to open people’s hearts and minds with words rather than guns. We need another Dr. Martin Luther King. After 50 years, we still miss Dr. Martin Luther King.

*************************

A Bit of MLK trivia …

• He skipped two grades and left for college before formally graduating high school. Entering Morehouse College at the age of 15, he was accepted as part of an early admittance program that was aimed to boost enrollment during the war. Dr. King received a bachelor’s degree at age 19.

• Upon marrying his wife, Coretta, he realized that it was not very easy for him to go on a honeymoon due to his skin color, so they ended up having it at a friend’s funeral parlor.

• On September 20, 1958, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” in Blumstein’s department store when he was approached by Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. After he said yes, Curry said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years,” and she plunged a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade came to rest alongside his aorta, and King underwent hours of delicate emergency surgery. Surgeons later told King that just one sneeze could have punctured the aorta and killed him. From his hospital bed where he convalesced for weeks, King issued a statement affirming his nonviolent principles and saying he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill attacker.

• In 1964, at the age of 35, King won the Nobel Peace Prize. To this day he is still the youngest male to ever receive it.

• On June 30, 1974, as Dr. King’s mother, 69-year-old Alberta Williams King played the organ at a Sunday service inside Ebenezer Baptist Church. Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two pistols and began to fire shots. One of the bullets struck and killed Ms. King, who died steps from where her son had preached nonviolence. The deranged gunman said that Christians were his enemy and that although he had received divine instructions to kill King’s father, who was in the congregation, he killed King’s mother instead because she was closer. The shooting also left a church deacon dead. Chenault received a death penalty sentence that was later changed to life imprisonment, in part due to the King family’s opposition to capital punishment.

• As a result of helping organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted 385 days, King was not only arrested but his house was also bombed.

• There are two places outside of the United States that celebrate MLK day: Toronto, Canada, and Hiroshima, Japan.

 

Thursday – A little Personal – Getting to Know You.

John W. Howell has gifted us with another delightful interaction between his furry kids. Please enjoy.

Fiction Favorites

Bailey, Lucy and Twiggy

“Hey, Twiggy.  Have you thought about what you would like to do today?”

“Well, Dad. I have a couple of things on my agenda.”

“I’m here to may every one of your requests come true today.”

“Hmm. Maybe I should do some further thinking. The first thing is breakfast.”

“Coming right up. The usual?”

“Yum. For those of you who wonder. My dad’s a real jokester. The usual indeed.”

“Who are you talking to Twiggy?”

“You must know we are never alone. The fourth wall is out there.”

“Goodness. You are certainly perceptive. So what’s next?”

“How about a little playtime with Lucy and Bailey.”

“Good deal. Let’s go.”

“Morning. Lucy.”

“Hi, Boss. I see you have the little one in your arms.”

“Yup and she would like to play. I’ll set her down.”

“Hey, Lucy. Look at this toy. It is part plastic and pom-pom.”

“Hold on little one…

View original post 188 more words

John’s Believe It Or Not… April 20th

* 1968 – Pierre Trudeau sworn in at Rideau Hall as Canada’s 15th Prime Minister. * 1999 A massacre at Columbine High School * 1871 Ku Klux Act passed by Congress * 1926 New sound process for films announced * 1914 Militia slaughters strikers at Ludlow in Colorado

It’s Friday! TGIF! Did You Know…

* 1968 – Pierre Trudeau sworn in at Rideau Hall as Canada’s 15th Prime Minister.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, PC, CC, prime minister of Canada 1968–79 and 1980–84, politician, writer, constitutional lawyer (born 18 October 1919 in Montréal, QC; died 28 September 2000 in Montréal). A charismatic and controversial figure, Trudeau was arguably Canada’s best-known politician, both at home and abroad. He was instrumental in negotiating Canada’s constitutional independence from the British Parliament and establishing a new Canadian Constitution with an entrenched Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Trudeau also brought in the Official Languages Act in 1969, making Canada officially bilingual. While he played an important role in defeating the Québec sovereignist movement of the 1970s and 1980s, his federalist stance, as well as his language and economic policies, alienated many in Canada, particularly in the western provinces. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… April 20th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… April 19th

* 1907 – Six Nations marathon runner Tom Longboat wins the 11th Boston marathon. * 1897 First Boston Marathon held * 1775 The American Revolution begins * 1989 Central Park jogger attack shocks New York City * 1975 The Captain and Tennille bring wedded bliss to the pop charts with their first hit record

It’s Thursday! Did You Know…

* 1907 – Six Nations marathon runner Tom Longboat wins the 11th Boston marathon.

A legendary athlete, he was adored and celebrated as the finest runner of his time. But journalists of the day could never reconcile such brilliance with his First Nations origin.

The story is told that somewhere in France during the Great War, a British general, being led to the front by a dispatch runner, grew irritated with the pace set by the man and ordered him to slow down. “For God’s sakes,” he complained. “Who do you think I am? Tom Longboat?” The dispatch runner, a tall man in his late twenties, slowed and answered, “No sir. That’s me.” Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… April 19th”

Good People Doing Good Things — Chad Houser

In her weekly series, “Good People Doing Good Things”, Jill Dennison gifts us with a story about Chad Houser, a chef and restauranteur in Dallas, Texas, who runs a program to help young juveniles who were incarcerated to learn skills they can use to support themselves and contribute to society. Please share.

Filosofa's Word

Welcome to Wednesday morning and our weekly Good People feature.  For those who have only recently begun following Filosofa’s Word, every Wednesday morning I shine a light on people who are giving back, giving of themselves to help others and make the world just a little better place for us all.  We are inundated with so much negativity these days, so many examples of greed and bigotry, that I think it serves us well to step back every now and then, to remind ourselves that there are a lot of good people in this world.  I refer to these as the ‘silent majority’, for they are too busy out there doing good to have time to be loudly tooting their own horn.  So today, I would like to introduce you to Chad Houser of Dallas, Texas …

In 2007, Chad Houser bought into a popular bistro in Dallas, and his…

View original post 1,169 more words

John’s Believe It Or Not… April 18th

* 1645 – Mme. La Tour surrenders Fort La Tour to Charles d’Aulnay after three-day siege. * 1906 The Great San Francisco Earthquake * 1974 The Red Brigade terrorizes Italy * 1958 Federal court decides to release Ezra Pound * 2012 Dick Clark – host of “American Bandstand” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” – dies

It’s Hump Day Wednesday! Did You Know…

* 1645 – Mme. La Tour surrenders Fort La Tour to Charles d’Aulnay after three-day siege.

In 1635, Governor of Acadia Charles de Menou d’Aulnay de Charnisay moved settlers from present-day LaHave, Nova Scotia to Port-Royal, and the Acadian people began to establish their roots. Under Aulnay, the Acadians built the first dikes in North America and cultivated the reclaimed salt marshes. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… April 18th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… April 17th

* April 17 1840 – Fenian rebel Benjamin Lett sets off a Good Friday blast – blowing the top off Brock’s Monument * 1961 The Bay of Pigs invasion begins * 1936 A single horsehair uncovers a murderer * 1790 Benjamin Franklin dies * 2002 General Hospital airs 10,000th episode

It’s Tuesday! Did You Know…

* April 17, 1840 – Fenian rebel Benjamin Lett sets off a Good Friday blast – blowing the top off Brock’s Monument

Isaac Brock was killed on 13 October 1812 in the Battle of Queenston Heights. He was leading a charge to retake a gun emplacement on Queenston Heights’ northern slope that had been captured by the invading American forces when he was shot in the wrist and chest. Before the battle at Queenston Heights, Brock had, with the help of Indigenous warriors, captured Fort Michilimackinac in July 1812 as well as Detroit that August. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… April 17th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… April 16th

* 1818 – Rush & Bagot agree to extend US Boundary from Lake of the Woods to Great Divide. * 1746 Jacobite Rising 1745: Battle of Culloden * 1943 Hallucinogenic effects of LSD discovered * 2007 Virginia Tech shooting leaves 32 dead * 1977 David Soul – of Starsky & Hutch – has the #1 song on the U.S. pop charts

It’s Monday! Did You Know…

* 1818 – Rush & Bagot agree to extend US Boundary from Lake of the Woods to Great Divide.

The Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest international border in the world between two countries. It is shared between Canada and the United States, the second- and fourth-largest countries by area, respectively. The terrestrial boundary (including portions of maritime boundaries in the Great Lakes, and on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic coasts) is 8,891 kilometers (5,525 mi) long, of which 2,475 kilometers (1,538 mi) is Canada’s border with Alaska. Eight Canadian provinces and territories (Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick), and thirteen U.S. states (Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) are located along the border. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… April 16th”