Tag Archives: Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy 86th Birthday!

A new generation of young people are understanding the importance of his leadership in a new, tangible way. Thank God!



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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Civil Rights, Family, History, Politics, Race, Youth


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Sitting at the Table of Brotherhood


Sibling rivalry gone haywire.

I wasn’t going to post about the latest installment of King in-fighting because it hurts my soul. But, when I learned that two brothers want to sell Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nobel peace prize AND his travel bible, I almost cried…literally. How could they even consider it?!?

Is there no family member or friend that can repair this hurtful rift? I’m ashamed, even if they are not.

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Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Civil Rights, Family, History, Race, Relationships


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MLK 2014

H Street, NE, Washington, DC

Last week was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. This summer was 50 years since the March on Washington. And people, we still a long way to go…

I’m sure he would also have a lot to say about this country’s spiritual health, but would be reinvigorated by Pope Francis. They both upheld strong beliefs in tolerance, inclusiveness, youth and social media (at least I think MLK would have). They would have an awesome interdenominational energy!

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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Civil Rights, Family, History, Politics, Race, Youth


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Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech 50 yrs ago today at 3pm, not knowing the global impact that this march and his life would have.

At 3pm, bells will sound across the nation to commemorate his iconic delivery. Let us remember not only his words, but his purpose.


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Father Daughter Bonding With a Civil Rights Twist

[My mother at 16 with her father.]

Fifty years ago almost to the day, my mother was 15 and an active member of the NAACP Youth Council. She desperately wanted to travel to DC with the group to march for civil rights and to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak.

My family lived in Southern Maryland with colored and whites only signs. My grandfather was the head cook at a restaurant at which his family could not dine. My grandmother was haunted by the vivid television images of police dogs tearing at the flesh of college students and firehoses blasting them down southern city streets. What frightened her most was the fact that her teenage daughter wanted to be in the thick of it.

Last week my mother laughed as she shared that she told my grandfather, “we’re gonna come sit-in at your restaurant.” She imitated his voice: “Noooo, you cain’t do that!” She was just kidding because The Open Hearth was too small a restaurant; her group only targeted larger establishments.

Although she has told me bits over the years, I regret that this is the first time that I’ve asked for the whole story of when her dad took her to the March on Washington. She has forgotten most of the details but I recorded what she could recall.

My grandmother had already said no to going with her group. My mom was trying to get my grandfather to talk my grandmother into it. He said no. Just when she thought all was lost, he told her he would take off from work and take her.

“This was big. He never took off.”

My Great Aunt, affectionately known as Sister, decided to go with them.

Although she could not remember the ride to DC or back home, these are my mom’s memories.

The city was on lock-down; they expected trouble. It was hot, not oppressively so, but warm. They walked for some time to get to the Reflecting Pool. There were large groups walking, many wearing “bib jeans” or overalls.

“They looked funny to me. I don’t know if they were farmers or sanitation workers, but I hadn’t seen anyone dressed that way.”

She saw Little Stevie Wonder and Peter, Paul and Mary nearby in the crowd. Because she couldn’t see, my grandfather put her on his shoulders. The crowd was excited and resolute, energized by his words. MLK looked like a speck but she could hear him. She, Grand dad and Sister held hands. I asked if she could remember their faces while he spoke, she said they were somber and reflective.

“People around me seemed much older but they could have been in their twenties.”

She hoped to see her group, but did not. They bought a lapel pin that was MLK’s face which she lost a decade ago at a 40th anniversary celebration of the March.

When I asked my grandmother what she could remember, she remarked that she was anxious. She was glad to have them home and happy that they had a good time. She said there were no incidents and the crowd was orderly and that made her happy as well.

I asked my mom if she knew or could sense how huge an event it was at that time. She said yes and no.

What do any of us know at 15.


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All Hail the King


When I think of MLK, so many images come to mind. On Saturday morning, I thought about the indellible mark that he left on not only this country, but the world. I shook my head sadly as I thought of the younger brother of a friend who spits on his memory because of MLK’s personal shortcomings. We all have unfortunate pasts and poor choices but that does not preclude us from greatness.

Images that come to mind are varied and numerous. I think of my mother at 16 on my grandfather’s shoulders alongside my great aunt at the “I Have a Dream” speech in ’63. I remember the snow and ice when I march with my mother to lobby for a day to celebrate his great life. My neighbor’s son doing his signature move as we danced to Stevie’s Happy Birthday. I think of so many B&W pictures of him as a young preacher with a powerful voice, leading a movement and so many hearts.

I wonder if he knew the impact he was making as a young man. If he knew what his legacy would bring? In some ways, I think he did as is evidenced in Letter From Birmingham Jail. Nobody forsees their death as a result of their work without understanding it’s weight and worth…yet he did it anyway. How many of us would do it anyway? Surely not the young dude I smh about on Saturday.
While people are rushing to volunteer/serve on this date, I am hopeful there are far more who live his message everyday.

My children and I will be present on August 28th for the unveiling of his memorial on the mall.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all man are created equal.”

PS Yes, you can love Martin AND Malcom (pre and post hajj).

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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Civil Rights, Education, Family, Race, Reflection, Youth



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