Monday, January 15, 2007

Citizen King

Today's post is too big for me, especially since I threw out my crickity ol' back again. You know the old saying "The mind is willing but the body is weak? Well, all I have to say is when you add a little Vicodine to the equation, "The body is weak and the mind is mush."

So in honor of Martin Luther King Day, I offer you a buffet of good reading from my friends in the blogosphere.

His words changed our nation forever, and your words might too.

Yolanda King reminds us that America has not yet reached the promised land of peace and racial equality.

"We must keep reaching across the table and, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, we must feed each other," she said Sunday at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. "The best sermons are those that are lived."

FLS has a great post, wondering how things might be if King were not killed.

The Happy Feminist has some interesting thoughts on the subject, and the comments are sharp as well.

This site on the LoveEarth Network (which I think was founded by Yoko Ono, or one of John's sons,) has a nice tribute complete with audio links.

Orcinus looks deep into history and tells us what a "Sundown Town" is:

"A sundown town is any organized jurisdiction that for decades kept African Americans or other groups from living in it and was thus "all white" on purpose.

... Many towns drove out their black populations, then posted sundown signs. ... Other towns passed ordinances barring African Americans after dark or prohibiting them from owning or renting property; still others established such policies by informal means, harassing and even killing those who violated the rule. Some sundown towns similarly kept out Jews, Chinese, Mexicans, Native Americans, or other groups.

Sometimes entire counties went sundown, usually when their county seat did. Independent sundown towns were soon joined by "sundown suburbs," which could be even larger: Levittown, on Long Island, had 82,000 residents in 1970, while Livonia, Michigan, and Parma, Ohio, had more than 100,000...Outside the traditional South ... probably a majority of all incorporated places kept out African Americans."

Over at The Huffington Post, Congressman John Lewis says "Today we celebrate and commemorate the life of a man of peace, a man of love, a man of nonviolence who must be considered one of the founding fathers of the new America. Because of his dedication to the cause of justice and the imperative of human dignity, he wrestled with the soul of a nation and challenged it to reach its highest destiny."

Eileen at the Peace Train uses King's wisdom to contemplate our current acts of war.

Or, you could check out Time's photo essay which offers stunning pictures matched with quotes.

The King Quotations Page offers a feast of his words. One I particularly like is:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

So I hope you will use this day to think about what matters, and give voice to those thoughts, for that is how "we feed each other" and do the work of Civil Rights. We do it by thinking, and learning, and writing, and talking at the dinner table. We define our beliefs on justice and equality, and we live those beliefs each and every day, for our friends, our families, and ourselves. Such is the way of change.


If you want to broaden your view of discrimination check out this post where a gay woman fears hospitalization after a surfing mishap, because her partner can not legally speak for her. When she sites this injustice, she is told the solution is to "just quit surfing."


The Fat Lady Sings said...

Sorry to hear about your back, honey. Believe me when I say I can totally relate. Just rest and take care of yourself. I hope the doctor gave you adequate pain meds. And thanks for the hat-tip, my dear. I really think the world would be a much better place had Martin and Bobby not been killed.

Kelley Bell said...

Your post was the best of the best, FLS. As always.

CrackerLilo said...

So wonderfully appropriate. There were lots of "sundown towns" in Florida. One of those things that I hate about my heritage. I'm bookmarking this.

And I SOOOOOO hope your back feels better soon.

Kelley Bell said...

My kids must have stepped on too many cracks!