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AdLib On January - 20 - 2014

MLK1

The difficulty of the struggle Martin Luther King undertook against racism and for equality is so poignant all these decades later. Today we confront the open racism of the anti-Obama Republicans, their spite towards the poor and their hatred towards immigrants and those of other-than-Christian religions.

As bad as we may feel it is today, Martin Luther King confronted much more violent and widespread racism and stood up in the face of it despite the personal risk. The movement he led for civil rights put his and his colleagues under threat on a daily basis, they accepted the dangers and possible sacrifice as the price they were willing to pay to make the lives of millions of others better, then and in the future. There can’t be a more noble life than one dedicated to such selfless work.

The courage and commitment to conscience Martin Luther King demonstrated resonates forward through us as a people and our nation’s history. Who he was and what he accomplished remains remarkable and inspirational. Many of the battles he fought against those who are the philosophical parents and grandparents of the prejudiced people we see today in the GOP remain as guiding lights to those fighting for equality today. Though taken from us, he continues to be a beacon of morality and humanity.

It is a tribute to the nation to have come together to set a day aside as a holiday to commemorate this remarkable man and the invaluable contribution he made to our country. Such people rarely walk the Earth, they should be appreciated and revered but most importantly, kept alive through words and actions that reflect the value and dignity he believed that each and every human being deserves.

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

29 Responses so far.

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  1. Nirek says:

    Those years were both wonderful and scary. Life was good for us white folks living up north. I was happy working for the State of Vermont Forest and Parks Dept. 1965 -1967 got a draft notice and life changed.

    My time in the Army was spent training. Basic, advanced infantry training, Drill Sargent school, and riot control training.

    Funny how they treat you when they know you had 3 years of High School ROTC in Panama. I was promoted to E2 out of Basic, E3 out of AIT, E4 and acting jack Sgt. to go to Drill Sgt. school. After that I actually taught a cycle and half of Basic Training. Then they sent me to Riot Control. Lots of hands on , but also psychology of a riot as well. Then they sent me to Fort Meade MD. I was to teach the 6th Armored Cavalry Riot Control.

    I never thought we would ever have to do it.

    Then that awful day in April 1968 Martin Luther King was killed in Tenn.. There was rioting in Washington DC, We were sent in to disperse the rioters.

    This is the best part, we did the job without hurting a single person.

    For me, the Army was mostly a bad experience. However I’m proud of this part of my service. I went to Vietnam shortly after and that was the worst .

    MLK was a brave man with vision. I almost think he knew he was going to be killed by someone with prejudice.

    If we could rid the world of hate it would be what MLK wanted.

    • Nirek, he knew. In his historic speech in DC, he said that we would get to the promised land,…”although I may not get there with you…”

      Nirek you have great reason to be proud of your service to our country. Your country called and you answered that call with bravery, honor and conviction. None of us could ever ask for more than that.

      • Nirek says:

        KT, I have had an interesting life. My time in Vietnam , I am both proud of and ashamed of. I did my duty. I didn’t believe in that war.

        If not for my Dad and his service in two wars I would have gone to Canada. I just could not disgrace him.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      From Wiki: On Friday, April 5, the White House dispatched some 13,600 federal troops, including 1,750 federalized D.C. National Guard troops to assist the overwhelmed District police force.[2] Marines mounted machine guns on the steps of the Capitol and Army troops from the 3rd Infantry guarded the White House. At one point, on April 5, rioting reached within two blocks of the White House before rioters retreated. The occupation of Washington was the largest of any American city since the Civil War. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Washington,_D.C._riots#Military_intervention

      Where were you all of this?

      I was in SC when this happened. A senior in H.S. -- the rumors of black uprising were everywhere but Southern blacks (in the Deep South) were led by their clergy and knew that rioting would give White Supremacists all of the excuse they needed to launch a campaign of overwhelming suppression.

      Grandparents were recruited far and wide to be sure their grandkids did not over react. The SC National Guard was called out but ended up having little to do.

      • choicelady says:

        I was in Tennessee and think of it always as the day hope died and all the Black people disappeared. We did not see one single Black person for a week. It was that dangerous. I was terrified -- a Yankee and pro civil rights person in the middle of the state -- not because of the riots but because of the white people. The open delight at Kings’ murder terrified me.

        I’m glad I experienced that, but I still remember the sorrow, guilt, and emptiness that came that horrible day. I fell asleep after exhausting the news and woke up crying. Horrid, horrid time after so much accomplished by this amazing man.

    • AdLib says:

      Nirek, I am genuinely impressed with all you’ve done in your life and have had to deal with. That must have been a very worrisome duty to fulfill but so glad to hear no one was injured.

      How does it feel to look back and see yourself as part of history like that?

      I think it was clear, from all the death threats he had received and the many murders in the name of racism that had taken place, that MLK knew the odds weren’t great that he would survive the ocean of hatred out there…he referred to it in speeches, saying he might not make it there with us. Yet, I think there was still optimism in him that maybe he could overcome the odds.

      I would think he would have had to have considered the fates of Jesus and Gandhi and may also have come to a degree of acceptance that there is a sacrifice made by those who stand up against power to insist upon peace, love and equality for all people.

      With that in mind, how can one not look at this man in awe?

      • Nirek says:

        Ad, those times were worrisome and they are etched in my memory. They also formed me into the man I am today.

        I find it hard to understand how so much hatred can still be so prevalent today. Why do some whites still hate the blacks and why do some blacks hate the whites? Why do some Muslims hate Americans so much? Why do they hate themselves so much that they are willing to kill themselves to kill some of us? It is senseless!

        Why can’t people just get along and if they find a person they don’t like just ignore them?

        • AdLib says:

          Nirek, I think that some people’s minds are corrupted by early-life influences that enforce their fear of the different. No coincidence that “conservatives” are more likely to be hateful and racist, militant against science, resistant to improving systems and programs, etc.

          They have a child’s fear of the different and unknown and have been given the protective emotional shield of white Christian superiority to activate whenever they feel too threatened.

          As for minorities who are prejudiced against whites and different minorities, that same sensibility combined with the history of prejudice in this country makes a terrible and sometimes life-ruining cocktail.

          So maybe some people’s minds are wired early on in a way that justifies hatred as righteous and protective. Those of us who aren’t like that can relate to fear and anger of course but have a difficult time understanding how someone willfully allows their fear and hatred to overpower any sense of decency and conscience they may have.

          Our minds simply don’t operate that way so it makes it hard for those on either side of the divide to relate.

          And that’s what the corporate fear and hate merchants want, to keep the majority divided so it’s weaker than them.

  2. Kalima says:

    A very fitting tribute to a great and very brave man. We can all learn something from his tireless struggles for equality, although it’s sad to say that some never will stop the hating because some consciously choose not to.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      The decision to embrace division, anger, hatred, greed…..wrapped in the polite language of a party platform. Every utterance by someone in the GOP in praise of MLK (while usually subverting his message) made me shiver.

      • Kalima says:

        The decision to hate, and it is a conscious decision, is the basic mo of the Republican party, and they then wrap it up in the word “oppose” as in opposition and party politics. They are almost to the very last man and woman, hypocritical mindless cowards without a moral compass between them. We should give up the idea that they will ever change and try to learn to look past them.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          for them hate is good politics…from the moment the Grand Old Party went down the road of the Southern Strategy it embraced racial and class politics and all that goes with it. I think that they are doomed unless their is a moment of profound enlightenment. BUT since they are opposed to being both profound and enlightened that seems most unlikely.

          • Kalima says:

            As I said Murph, better to try to look past anything that obstructs your view to the future. Fight them and throw their hypocrisy back in their faces, but don’t let their antics waylay any chances for a better and kinder America. They are bullies and cowards with no new ideas except for those they want to use to destroy the country with. In fact very much like the Tories in the U.K. who have to be stopped next year.

            The only way to beat them is to GOTV both there and across the pond.

    • AdLib says:

      Kalima, we live in a world of dualities so you’re right, no matter how much love and empathy there is in people, there will always be those that hate. So there will always be bigots.

      The obscenity today is that our society has had the benefit of enlightenment since the time of MLK and the Civil Rights Act…and yet racism can be openly spewed throughout the day in the MSM (FOX News does it’s part as does Limbaugh and others).

      The thing is, they wouldn’t be doing so if there was not an audience that laps it up like thirsty hounds. We will never be fully rid of such people but we should be ale to have a consensus of the majority Americans that broadcasting such hatred should not be socially acceptable.

      • Kalima says:

        It’s so much more fulfilling to love rather than to hate, and so much more rewarding to give rather than to receive. Both cost us nothing except for our time. A small price to pay.

        • AdLib says:

          Kalima, this is the kind of ignorance that will always be with us…yep, this happened this week…in 2014:

          ASU fraternity under scrutiny for MLK Day party

          Pictures from the party made their way onto social media websites, depicting guests dressed in basketball jerseys, flashing gang signs and holding watermelon-shaped cups.

          http://news.yahoo.com/asu-fraternity-under-scrutiny-mlk-day-party-192840490.html

          • Kalima says:

            There are arseholes in every corner of the world and one being born every minute. These people feel no shame because they are too dumb to understand that this is offensive to the majority of people in your country. Then what else can we expect from people who live in their own bubbles of total ignorance with no responsible person to point out that this is unacceptable for most people. Most 10 year olds have more moral fiber than this .

            Oh and it is AZ, the state of compassion and racial harmony after all.

  3. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    Hey Ad Lib…a fine reflection.

    King

    My local Episcopal Church decided to support the Cathedral in St. Louis.Christ Church Cathedral honored the birthday of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in their program: “Let Freedom Ring 2014,” its fifth annual daylong reading of Dr. King’s writings and speeches.

    The group from my church was there from 3 to 5 PM today. Pepople cam to Speak and to Listen—and let the words, were accompanied by a visual display of pictures of the civil rights leader, and music, wash over us. We had signed up to do some of the reading as did others. But others just showed up. They come up to the front, approach the reader coordinator and indicated they wished to have a turn. Some of the reading was magnificently delivered and some was in starts and stops with some difficulty.

    The day closed with a 30 minute service. The Cathedral is an inner city parish but is congregation is very mixed. We heard excerpts from his sermons in his own voice, recordings in a darkening great church with images of the man in the midst of his work. We sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic, listening to a stirring piano and organ orchestration of We Shall Overcome and then sang it together.

    At the end we recited the Pledge to Non Violence that Dr. King asked all who marched with him to sign. It reads:

    ========================
    I hereby pledge myself—my person and body—to the nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:

    1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

    2. Remember always that the non—violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.

    3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

    4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

    5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all might be free.

    6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

    7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

    8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

    9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

    10.Follow the directions of the movement.

    I commit myself to this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.

    ==================I remembered that pledge…I took it in Selma in 1965=========

    • AdLib says:

      Murph, if only we could get those on The Right to consider King’s pledge and not necessarily follow it since many would refuse, but to at least recognize the goodness in it and in those who believe in what it represents.

      This mentality that it is a betrayal to simply respect those who have different opinions is so destructive. It’s an invention of the corporatist RW that needs the majority of Americans divided so they can exert and amass power.

      There are so many things such as Voter ID, racially biased sentencing and the attack on the poor that I think Martin Luther King might be fighting against if he was alive today. But I wonder if the top issue wouldn’t be re-unifying the American people and in doing so, empowering them and bringing the force of humanity to rule over the greedy and cruel hands of the wealthy and powerful.

      And reviving that pledge in the hearts and minds of most Americans would be a very potent way to start.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I think you identify the core of MLK’s life…to gather the people into a crusade in the name of what is righteous…..today he would, as you suggest and as too believe, calling America to a reinvention of itself based on its founding principles and addressed to a very wide ranging agenda. Imagine King at the head of an Occupy Movement!

        He was an inventive strategist as well as an inspiring orator.

    • Nirek says:

      Murph, our paths never crossed but we were both involved in that part of history. I sometimes wish I had never been drafted. Some of the stuff I had to do was actually good and other stuff was not so much good.

      Dad was Army from WWII until 67 when I was drafted. We worked along with black men and never were prejudice. Some Army folks were but my Dad always taught us that people are different but all were human. That was always his way, we were all human beings.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Hi Nirek….I was in college during the war, burned my draft card, picketed the draft board daring them to call us out. I was an anti war activist….I think King very much affected me in that….My dad was career Navy. WWII through the Vietnam War. He was pro-war until it became clear that Tonkin Gulf never happened and then he turned. He kept quiet about in the service but he was no longer an “America! Right or Wrong” guy.

  4. Well written Ad. I was barely 14 when he was assassinated, and I had no idea of the impact his life would have on future generations. All I basically knew about him was that he was peaceful as apposed to Malcolm X, who really scared the crap out of many white people.

    Since that dreadful day, I have learned so much about what he was fighting for. Even though Ohio is not considered a southern state, there was plenty of hatred towards black people then. My parents never used any sort of racial slurs or even indicated how they felt about black people, but his passing was really not commented on by them. Maybe they thought avoidance was easier than examining their own feelings about it.

    The 60s was a wonderful time to be young, but it was also a terrifying time. The political assassinations of great leaders, and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, the prospect of dying at the age of 18 in some far off land we had no real business being in. No wonder our generation went a little crazy for a while.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      We share these memories. I remember when Dr. King was killed (part of the trilogy of Jack, Bobby and Martin) I remember how cool my parents were and how after our maid left for the day they would speak of the riots by “those people”. For a while there it looked like every major city in the land was going to go up in flames and then Martin’s disciples won out.

    • AdLib says:

      KT, I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and the spate of assassinations, the Vietnam war, Nixon and Watergate, social unrest and of course the nuclear threat from the USSR made tumult sort of normal to kids.

      At the same time, there was a focus on seeking spirituality (through drugs and/or non-mainstream religious beliefs), free love and communes and the younger generation passionately fighting the establishment.

      As the Chinese proverb goes, “May you live in exciting times.” Children of the 1960’s and 1970’s sure did.

      First President Kennedy then Martin Luther King then Robert Kennedy, it seemed like no one was safe no matter how important they were, a sense of vulnerability and being helplessly exposed

      As I grew older, I became more familiar with what visions they were all pursuing though of them all, only Martin Luther King was simply a citizen who had stood up despite the danger. He had no Secret Service agents protecting him (in fact, the FBI treated him like an enemy of the state) and he knew well that threats to his life were all around him. Yet, that didn’t stop him. What kind of courage and conscience does that demonstrate?

      He was a giant, leaving huge footsteps that can’t be filled but do lead in the direction of justice and equality that we can all follow.

      • Very well said Ad. I think Bobby Kennedy was also such a man. He didn’t face such horrible danger for his beliefs as MLK did, for as long as MLK did, but he certainly knew of the dangers he faced when he announced his candidacy for president. He knew very well the possibility of his own assassination, but his convictions drove him forward. I am not trying to make a comparison of the wills and convictions of these two men, I just think Bobby and Martin were very exceptional men. Men whom the world has seen only a “handful,” of times, throughout recorded history.


        Everytime I watch this speech, my eyes get a little misty and I get a lump in my throat.

  5. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    HOW DR. KING CHANGED THE LIFE
    OF A 15 YEAR OLD WHITE KID LIVING IN SC.

    I was 18 years old in the Spring of 1968 and heading off to college in September.I was a white kid living in South Carolina.In my mostly white “technically” integrated school, I heard a lot of talk from other students about that “PUT THE N WORD HERE” who was “a rebel, a malcontent, a rabble-rouser, a communist” and much more.

    My parents and their friends were well educated and professional. Their language about him was less offensive but still largely negative. They said that he was not doing “things” the “right way” and that all he was causing was “trouble for his own people.”

    I did not agree. Nor did most of my friends.You see, I and five of my friends and a youth minister had traveled to Selma, Alabama on March 24, 1965 when I was a sophomore to take part in a march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery the next day.

    Our parents did not know where we were going. We had sold them a bill of goods about doing some volunteer work in Georgia.We were scared. Two previous attempts had been blocked by the courts, by the police and by angry mobs. But the minister was someone we trusted.

    This third march succeeded and at the end of a long march with angry crowds of white folks on both sides screaming threats at us, and smaller crowds of black folk standing in silent support we made it to Montgomery.

    We were safe.

    March organizers put us in the midst of a large church group and we walked with them, singing, chanting, and holding up signs. The signs were about integration, the war in Vietnam and the plight of poor people. It was no longer just about black people.At the foot of the steps of the state capital, we stood and heard Dr. King deliver one of his most powerful speeches: “How Long, Not Long”.These words from that speech remained in my heart from that day on.

    “How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long,but it bends toward justice.”

    As a progressive today I continue to march with him.

    Rest in Peace, Dr. King.

    • AdLib says:

      What a remarkable story, Murph.

      That quote by MLK about the arc of the moral universe bending towards justice has resided in me since my childhood, there is something so noble, so passionate and so full of humanity in that concept, so reflective of King. And it’s been a pillar of my optimism about our nation and the world, as bad as things get, I remain a believer in that wisdom.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Thanks….I was scared to death. It seemed like a hoot until we got to Alabama and then reality set in. The organizers of the march were glad to have us but they were also very aware of how uninformed we (and our minister) were when we decided to take our road trip

        It was their presence to us that I remember not our presence to them. Those folks took us in. That has my underling reference to blacks ever since.

        So, I too take heart in the words of Dr. King and what they called forth from us once upon a time. I hope they will continue to inspire but I fear that nearly 50 years out MLK is a fading national memory. And that’s my pessimism at work…but you know that.


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