Some Issues With Martin Luther King Memorial Surface

Taking a few words at their meaning, out of context with the events, or in some cases hundreds of words surrounding them is a recipe for disaster. In particular, the Rev. Martin Luther King, whose speeches and collective will driven by the righteousness of our cause shook our national psyche to it’s very foundations, left us with a number or speeches and written words left us with a number of “quotable moments” which cannot be distilled without context.

My parents, being educators collected a number of King’s Speeches and much of his oratory on old 33 1/3 RPM records allowing us to go back and review and rehear his speeches, discussions, and debates again and again. I would guess that well North of several thousand published works document the Civil Rights period, making it, WWII, and the Great Depression the most documented and detailed events of the past century.

So it is a little distressing when they get it wrong on the Memorial…

At King ceremony, a chance to bend toward justice

 

The arc of a mistake is long, and it now stretches from the Oval Office over to the Mall.

An error has been etched in marble on the grand Martin Luther King Jr. memorial that was to be dedicated Sunday, on the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Some of King’s speeches and writings have been inscribed in the memorial. But one of the sayings on the wall by the Tidal Basin is incorrect — or incomplete — in its attribution.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

According to David Remnick’s biography of Obama, that is the president’s “favorite quotation.” Obama brought the idea back into present-day parlance and even had it sewn into the rug in the Oval Office when he redecorated last year. But as I wrote on this page last September, King is not the source of that quote. Continue reading

11 Martin Luther King Quotes

Sometimes it’s good to go back and review a few lessons from the Master. In that vein – 10 +1 Quotes from MLK -

  1. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
  2. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. –Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1964
  3. Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
  4. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
  5. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
  6. When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
  7. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. –letter from Birmingham jail, April 16, 1963
  8. The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers. –”Strength to Love”
  9. I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
  10. 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. –”Strength to Love”

And Number 11?

The one Mssrs Robertson and Limbaugh, and a bunch of their ilk, should have tattoed to their foreheads -

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.


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