January 19, 2009

It's Martin Luther King Jr Day, go do something

Forgive me that snark but I'm already having a bad morning.

While your friends are gearing up for Tuesday's inauguration, your other friends are still outraged from ________ and playing Red Light Green Light with Obama, your other friends are gearing up to barbecue, and whoever you're not thinking about right now probably doesn't care for various reasons, even though his actual birthday was last week, you...well here you are.

Ehhh. Personally I still think it should be more like a "working holiday" since it's going the way of _____ Day where it's just another excuse to fire up the grill (well, okay the fact that unless you're in Hawaii it's probably 10 degrees outside probably stops that), but we can easily make it a very productive day. Even more so if you actually have to go to work today anyhow.

So, I was going to post the "I Have A Dream" speech but, interestingly enough, I found a link for his Letters From a Birmingham Jail on Pharyngula, so I decided to be opportunist and do that instead. I don't actually have a preference when it comes to King's speeches so it's all good.

16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

And here.

So let's whip out our favorite quotes, pre-63 or post-63 King literature, or any other civil rights material you have and keep the dream alive.

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