Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dr. Martin Luther King Weekend

Each January I am deeply moved by the vision, courage, integrity, clarity, and tenacity of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the famous "I Have a Dream" speech, King said the following about urgency of mission which really resonates with me right now:

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood."

While some thought that the civil rights problems for non-whites were gradually going to get better, King was not content with gradual. He knew that there was immensely important progress that had to be made and he was even willing to die accelerating the process.

Am I "taking the tranquilizing drug of gradualism" in any areas of my life or work right now? What about you?

This year I have immersed a little further in the celebration of King's life. I contacted the MLK celebration committee in my city last July and made myself available to help in any way needed. I ended up doing some web work for the celebration this weekend and also made a video for a couple of the events.

Today I also found some MLK speeches online. is a great resource for mp3s of tons of great speeches. I downloaded King's "I Have a Dream" speech and burned it to a CD. We played the 16 minute speech in the van as our family went to the mall today. I don't think the kids fully understand, but I love letting them hear great vision and courage and determination.

One other thing today... At the city's celebration, they had a gentleman speak who was both a scholar on Dr. King and a King impersonator. He told King's story through some narration and then he would break into speaking portions of King's amazing speeches in a voice amazingly like King's own. The fact that this impersonator was a white man made the experience all the richer. It was a picture of the bridging of the races.

Do you have any thoughts this weekend about Dr. King?


Kentonstore said...

In so many ways the dream has moved closer to being a reality. It is unfortunate that many of our leaders still use race as a political tool. Instead of bringing people together they drive wedges between us for their own ends.
The goal is being accomplished but on a personal level. If only our leaders would join the people they say they represent.

kris said...

ok, i know this has nothing to do w/ Dr. King, but happy birthday, friend!

Deana said...

Happy birthday Allen!

marvin said...

I am Marvin Blanks of I am a Martin Luther King Impersonator..I have been delivering the "I Have a Dream" speech for 41years and know it by heart. If you closed your eyes you would be taken back to that day in DC Aug 1964. I sound just like is scary. I agree with Allen Arnn and appreciate all of his sentiments about the greatest speech of all time.Allen you should here me deliver it ...I`d love to do it for you or groups and organizations