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7 Things You May Not Know About MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

7 Things You May Not Know About MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech


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On August 28, 1963, in front of a crowd of nearly 250,000 people spread across the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Baptist preacher and civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Organizers of the event, officially known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, had hoped 100,000 people would attend. In the end, more than twice that number flooded into the nation’s capital for the massive protest march, making it the largest demonstration in U.S. history to that date.

WATCH: The Power of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 'I Have A Dream' Speech

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech now stands out as one of the 20th century’s most unforgettable moments, but a few facts about it may still surprise you.

1.) There were initially no women included in the event.

Despite the central role that women like Rosa Parks, Ella Baker, Daisy Bates and others played in the civil rights movement, all the speakers at the March on Washington were men. But at the urging of Anna Hedgeman, the only woman on the planning committee, the organizers added a “Tribute to Negro Women Fighters for Freedom” to the program. Bates spoke briefly in the place of Myrlie Evers, widow of the murdered civil rights leader Medgar Evers, and Parks and several others were recognized and asked to take a bow. “We will sit-in and we will kneel-in and we will lie-in if necessary until every Negro in America can vote,” Bates said. “This we pledge to the women of America.”

2.) A white labor leader and a rabbi were among the 10 speakers on stage that day.

King was preceded by nine other speakers, notably including civil rights leaders like A. Philip Randolph and a young John Lewis, the future congressman from Georgia. The most prominent white speaker was Walter Reuther, head of the United Automobile Workers, a powerful labor union. The UAW helped fund the March on Washington, and Reuther would later march alongside King from Selma to Montgomery to protest for Black voting rights.

Joachim Prinz, the president of the American Jewish Congress, spoke directly before King. “A great people who had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers,” Prinz said of his experience as a rabbi in Berlin during the horrors perpetrated by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. “America must not become a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silent.”

3.) King almost didn’t deliver what is now the most famous part of the speech.

King had debuted the phrase “I have a dream” in his speeches at least nine months before the March on Washington, and used it several times since then. His advisers discouraged him from using the same theme again, and he had apparently drafted a version of the speech that didn’t include it. But as he spoke that day, the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson prompted him to “Tell them about the dream, Martin.” Abandoning his prepared text, King improvised the rest of his speech, with electrifying results.

4.) The speech makes allusions to the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, Shakespeare and the Bible.

“Five score years ago,” King began, referencing the opening of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as well as the Emancipation Proclamation, which had gone into effect in 1863. After 100 years, King noted, “the Negro is still not free,” and the rights promised in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were still denied to Black Americans. The image of “this sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent” echoes the opening soliloquy in William Shakespeare’s Richard III (“Now is the winter of our discontent”), while the soaring end of the speech, with its repeated refrains of “Let freedom ring” calls on the 19th-century patriotic song "My Country 'Tis of Thee," written by Samuel Francis Smith.

Finally, King’s speech repeatedly draws on the Bible, including an allusion to the Book of Psalms (“Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning”) and a quote from the Book of Isaiah (“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low...”), to name just two references.

5.) The speech impressed the Kennedy administration and helped advance civil rights legislation in Congress.

All three major TV networks at the time (ABC, CBS and NBC) aired King’s speech, and though he was already a national figure by that time, it marked the first time many Americans — reportedly including President John F. Kennedy — had heard him deliver an entire speech. Kennedy was assassinated less than three months later, but his successor, Lyndon Johnson, would sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, marking the most significant advances in civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

6.) At the same time, the success of the speech attracted the attention (and suspicion) of the FBI.

Federal authorities monitored the March on Washington closely, fearing sedition and violence. Policing of the march turned into a military operation, codenamed Operation Steep Hill, with 19,000 troops put on standby in the D.C. suburbs to quell possible rioting (which didn’t happen). After the event, FBI official William Sullivan wrote that King’s “powerful, demagogic speech” meant that “we must mark him now...as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation.”

At the FBI’s urging, Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorized the installation of wiretaps on King’s phone and those at the offices of his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), ostensibly to look into potential communist ties. The FBI later stepped up its surveillance of King, which lasted until his assassination in 1968.

7.) The King family still owns the 'I Have a Dream' speech.

Though it is one of the most famous and widely celebrated speeches in U.S. history, the “I Have a Dream” speech is not in the public domain, but is protected by copyright—which is owned and enforced by King’s heirs. As reported in the Washington Post, King himself obtained the rights a month after he gave the speech, when he sued two companies selling unauthorized copies. Though some parts of the speech may be used lawfully without approval (for example, individual teachers have been able to use the speech in their classrooms), the King estate requires anyone who wants to air the speech to pay for that right.

READ MORE: 10 Things You May Not Know About Martin Luther King, Jr.

WATCH: Fight the Power: The Movements that Changed America, premieres Saturday, June 19 at 8/7c on The HISTORY® Channel.


In His Own Words: Martin Luther King Jr. on White Privilege, Police Brutality, Reparations and More

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action” who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

On black people who disagree with black protest:

We must tell our white brothers that the few Uncle Toms who will sill their souls for a mess of economic pottage do not speak for the Negro.

On White privilege:

We must also realize that privileged groups never give up their privileges voluntarily. If we are victimized with the feeling that we can sit down comfortably by the wayside and wait for the white man to voluntarily give us our justly deserved freedom, we will be the victims of a dangerous illusion, which can only end up in tragic disillusion.

Address at Public Meeting of the Southern Christian Ministers Conference of Mississippi September 23, 1959

On Police Brutality:

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality

I don’t believe you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its angry violent dogs literally biting six unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I don’t believe you would so quickly commend the policemen if you would observe their ugly and inhuman treatment of Negroes here in the city jail if you would watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls if you would see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys, if you would observe them, as they did on two occasions, refusing to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I’m sorry that I can’t join you in your praise for the police department.

Letter from a Birmingham Jail August 1963

On economic inequality:

I had also learned that the inseparable twin of racial injustice was economic injustice. Although I came from a home of economic security and relative comfort, I could never get out of my mind the economic insecurity of many of my playmates and the tragic poverty of those living around me.

In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: There are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.

Where Do We Go From Here? 1967

On people who called him a terrorist and a “black supremacist”:

We’re not rabble rousers we’re not dangerous agitators, nor do we seek political dominance. Black supremacy is as bad as white supremacy. But freedom is necessary for one’s selfhood, for one’s intrinsic worth. Let us say to the white people, we’re not going to take bombs into your communities. We will not do anything to destroy you physically. We will not turn to some foreign ideology. Communism has never invaded our ranks. We’ve been loyal to America. Now we want to be free.

On why white people fear racial impurity:

I often find when decent treatment for the Negro is urged, a certain class of people hurry to raise the scarecrow of social mingling and intermarriage. These questions have nothing to do with the case. And most people who kick up this kind of dust know that it is simple dust to obscure the real question of rights and opportunities.

It is fair to remember that almost the total of race mixture in America has come, not at Negro initiative, but by the acts of those very white men who talk loudest of race purity. We aren’t eager to marry white girls, and we would like to have our own girls left alone by both white toughs and white aristocrats.

On reparations and asking for handouts:

I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.

Where Do We Go From Here? 1967

On white people:

Who can doubt that most men today are anvils continually being molded by the patterns of the majority.

I have seen many white people who sincerely oppose segregation and discrimination, but they never took a real stand against it because of fear of standing alone.

In their relations with Negroes, white people discovered that they had rejected the very center of their own ethical professions. They could not face the triumph of their lesser instincts and simultaneously have peace within. And so, to gain it, they rationalized—insisting that the unfortunate Negro, being less than human, deserved and even enjoyed second class status.

They argued that his inferior social, economic and political position was good for him. He was incapable of advancing beyond a fixed position and would therefore be happier if encouraged not to attempt the impossible. He is subjugated by a superior people with an advanced way of life. The “master race” will be able to civilize him to a limited degree, if only he will be true to his inferior nature and stay in his place.

White men soon came to forget that the Southern social culture and all its institutions had been organized to perpetuate this rationalization. They observed a caste system and quickly were conditioned to believe that its social results, which they had created, actually reflected the Negro’s innate and true nature.

In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churches stand on the sidelines and merely mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities.

Letter from a Birmingham Jail August 1963

Many of our white brothers are concerned only about the length of life, their preferred economic positions, their political power, their so-called way of life. If they would ever rise up and add breadth to length, the other-regarding dimension to the self-regarding dimension, we would be able to solve all of the problems (Amen) in our nation today.

Many white men in the South see themselves as a fearful minority in an ocean of black men. They honestly believe with one side of their minds that Negroes are depraved and disease-ridden.


7 Things You May Not Know About MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

On August 28, 1963, in front of a crowd of nearly 250,000 people spread across the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Baptist preacher and civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Organizers of the event, officially known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, had hoped 100,000 people would attend. In the end, more than twice that number flooded into the nation’s capital for the massive protest march, making it the largest demonstration in U.S. history to that date.

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech now stands out as one of the 20th century’s most unforgettable moments, but a few facts about it may still surprise you.

1.) There were initially no women included in the event.

Despite the central role that women like Rosa Parks , Ella Baker, Daisy Bates and others played in the civil rights movement , all the speakers at the March on Washington were men. But at the urging of Anna Hedgeman, the only woman on the planning committee, the organizers added a “Tribute to Negro Women Fighters for Freedom” to the program. Bates spoke briefly in the place of Myrlie Evers, widow of the murdered civil rights leader Medgar Evers , and Parks and several others were recognized and asked to take a bow. “We will sit-in and we will kneel-in and we will lie-in if necessary until every Negro in America can vote,” Bates said. “This we pledge to the women of America.”

2.) A white labor leader and a rabbi were among the 10 speakers on stage that day.

King was preceded by nine other speakers, notably including civil rights leaders like A. Philip Randolph and a young John Lewis , the future congressman from Georgia. The most prominent white speaker was Walter Reuther , head of the United Automobile Workers, a powerful labor union. The UAW helped fund the March on Washington, and Reuther would later march alongside King from Selma to Montgomery to protest for Black voting rights.

Joachim Prinz, the president of the American Jewish Congress, spoke directly before King. “A great people who had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers,” Prinz said of his experience as a rabbi in Berlin during the horrors perpetrated by Adolf Hitler ’s Nazi regime. “America must not become a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silent.”

3.) King almost didn’t deliver what is now the most famous part of the speech.

King had debuted the phrase “I have a dream” in his speeches at least nine months before the March on Washington, and used it several times since then. His advisers discouraged him from using the same theme again, and he had apparently drafted a version of the speech that didn’t include it. But as he spoke that day, the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson prompted him to “Tell them about the dream, Martin.” Abandoning his prepared text , King improvised the rest of his speech, with electrifying results.

4.) The speech makes allusions to the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, Shakespeare and the Bible.

“Five score years ago,” King began, referencing the opening of Abraham Lincoln ’s Gettysburg Address as well as the Emancipation Proclamation , which had gone into effect in 1863. After 100 years, King noted, “the Negro is still not free,” and the rights promised in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were still denied to Black Americans. The image of “this sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent” echoes the opening soliloquy in William Shakespeare ’s Richard III (“Now is the winter of our discontent”), while the soaring end of the speech, with its repeated refrains of “Let freedom ring” calls on the 19th-century patriotic song "My Country 'Tis of Thee," written by Samuel Francis Smith.

Finally, King’s speech repeatedly draws on the Bible , including an allusion to the Book of Psalms (“Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning”) and a quote from the Book of Isaiah (“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. ”), to name just two references.

5.) The speech impressed the Kennedy administration and helped advance civil rights legislation in Congress.

All three major TV networks at the time (ABC, CBS and NBC) aired King’s speech, and though he was already a national figure by that time, it marked the first time many Americans — reportedly including President John F. Kennedy — had heard him deliver an entire speech. Kennedy was assassinated less than three months later, but his successor, Lyndon Johnson , would sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, marking the most significant advances in civil rights legislation since Reconstruction .

6.) At the same time, the success of the speech attracted the attention (and suspicion) of the FBI.

Federal authorities monitored the March on Washington closely , fearing sedition and violence. Policing of the march turned into a military operation, codenamed Operation Steep Hill, with 19,000 troops put on standby in the D.C. suburbs to quell possible rioting (which didn’t happen). After the event, FBI official William Sullivan wrote that King’s “powerful, demagogic speech” meant that “we must mark him now. as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation.”

At the FBI’s urging, Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorized the installation of wiretaps on King’s phone and those at the offices of his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), ostensibly to look into potential communist ties. The FBI later stepped up its surveillance of King, which lasted until his assassination in 1968.


Alabama, Hyundai have huge week in Marvel Cinematic Universe

Last week was a big one for Alabama in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The fictional Alabama town of Haven Hills was the setting for a key moment in the MCU’s Disney+ series “Loki” in which the title character played by Tom Hiddleston confronts a female variant of himself. Unfortunately for Haven Hills, a massive hurricane is set to destroy the beach town in the year 2050, in which the time-traveling scene is set.

The outcome for another Alabama tie with the MCU is more optimistic.

A series of commercials featuring MCU characters and the Alabama-built Hyundai Tucson SUV was released last week.

MCU Disney+ characters Loki (Hiddleston), the former Falcon and new Captain America (Anthony Mackie) and Wanda Maximoff/The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) make cameos in commercials reminiscent of scenes from their Disney+ series “Loki,” “The Falcon and Winter Soldier” and “WandaVision,” respectively. Later this summer, Hyundai and Marvel Studios will release an additional collaboration inspired by “What If…?,” Marvel Studios’ first animated series coming to Disney+.

In the released spots, each character asks a rhetorical, thought-provoking question, in keeping with Hyundai’s ongoing “Question Everything” advertising campaign promoting the Tucson.

“The Marvel Cinematic Universe has captivated audiences and it’s an incredible opportunity to utilize their characters and storylines with custom creative for the all-new Tucson,” said Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America. “This promotional partnership elevates our biggest launch campaign ever, which showcases how we questioned every detail and assumption when developing the 2022 Tucson – resulting in our most innovative and technologically advanced vehicle to date.”

It’s the latest extension of a “creative integration” campaign between Hundai and Disney announced earlier this month in which the 2022 Tucson is being featured in Disney-owned properties like ABC’s “The Bachelorette” and “black-ish” and ESPN’s “SportsCenter” in addition to the Disney+ MCU tie-ins.

“We were dedicated to creating custom content calibrated to the precise needs of Hyundai,” said Mindy Hamilton, senior vice president of partnership marketing at the Walt Disney Co. “We scripted, produced and managed creative for all three spots – a point of differentiation in the marketplace. The result is a sophisticated, compelling creative campaign that we’re incredibly proud of and believe will resonate with Marvel fans.”

The Tucson is produced at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) plant in Montgomery.

“The marketing campaign for the all-new Tucson is already creating a lot of buzz on our production floor and team members are beaming with pride because the Tucson and the soon-to-be-released Santa Cruz sport adventure vehicle will make a big impression on their respective car buying-segments,” Robert Burns, vice president of Human Resources and Administration at HMMA, told Alabama NewsCenter earlier this month.

In addition to the Tucson and the Santa Cruz, HMMA produces the Sonata and Elantra sedans and the Santa Fe SUV.


Seven Things to Tell Your Kids About Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do you get your kids to understand the meaning of a holiday, and not just the fact that they get a day off from school? Well, we were wondering the same thing, so we asked our readers on Facebook to share how they were planning on translating the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to their kids.

Here are the five most thoughtful answers we received to help you celebrate MLK Jr. Day with your kids in a meaningful way:

1. Make them listen to his “I have a dream” speech. It’s wonderfully captivating!

2. There is a great book called My Brother Martin, written for young kids by MLK’s sister. It is beautiful and well written. I heartily recommend it!

3. I told my kids that MLK was a person who wanted everybody to be friends. Some people don’t think everybody should be friends they think you should only be friends with people who are like you. But he really wanted everyone in the world to be friends with each other, even if they were different.

4. A reference point that they can relate to provides a good starting point for us. This comparison helps start the conversation: v’ahavta l’reacha kamocha (You shall love your fellows as yourself). It’s a basic concept that kids can be introduced to at a young age.

5. We talk about how sometimes a person stands up to do what is right for people. Our kids are 6 years old now, and we have likened it to Moses standing up for what is right. A small act of doing the right thing can become a big thing as time goes on.

6. When my son was 4, we talked about how some people treated others differently just because their skin was a different color, and wasn’t that so stupid? My son–who goes to school in a very diverse district and thus has friends of many races, ethnicities, and cultures–readily agreed that that was ridiculous.

7. My daughters are 5.5 and 4. One of them, at some point prior to this discussion, described the world as made of Peach People and Brown People. From there we described that there used to be different laws for Brown People and Peach People, and how the laws meant that Brown People and Peach People couldn’t live in the same neighborhoods or go to the same schools. From there we told them how MLK Jr. helped work to change those laws.

Do you have other tips for talking about MLK with young kids? Let us know in the comments below.


Anslinger was widely known as an &aposextreme racist in the 1920s&apos

When Anslinger first took on the role in the new agency that was part of the Treasury Department, he was determined to 𠇎radicate all drugs, everywhere.” He had previously been part of the Department of Prohibition, but since the prohibition had been abolished, he was more determined than ever to take a strict stance on drugs.

Among his strategies was his belief that jazz music was a part of the problem. “It sounded like the jungles in the dead of night,” a memo he wrote said, while another said “unbelievably ancient indecent rites of the East Indies are resurrected” and that the songs “reek of filth.” His agents even reported back to him that “many among the jazzmen think they are playing magnificently when under the influence of marijuana, but they are actually becoming hopelessly confused and playing horribly.”

The reason for his targeting of a genre of music came down to his widely-known bias. “You have to understand that he was regarded as an extreme racist in the 1920s,” Hari told WNYC. “He used the N word so often in official memos that his own senators said he should have to resign.”

So the controversial nature of “Strange Fruit” among the musicscape at the time gave him the excuse he needed to go after Holiday. “This was not a time when there were political pop songs,” Hari said. 𠇊nd to have an African American woman standing in front of a white audience singing a song against white supremacy and its violence was viscerally shocking at that moment.” Coupled with Holiday’s known struggles with alcohol and drug addiction over the years, Anslinger became laser-focused on taking Holiday down.

Photo: Carl Van Vechten Collection/Getty Images


The "King" Things-Not just for the Holiday

We celebrate the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once a year, but in thinking about who Dr. King was and his accomplishments, I recognize that his traits are some of the same traits we all have. Therefore, we can try to apply them daily.
We understand what the contributions of dr. King and so many others like Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson, and Congressman John Lewis mean to where we are today. I often think of Dr. king saying "I may not get there with you but we as a people will make it to the promise land." He knew his sacrifices would make a difference in our society. He also knew he wouldn't be here to see the fruits of his and so many others labor.
What kind of character one must have to know they will not directly benefit from the work they're doing--yet do it with passion and dedication. That always gave me just a slight idea as to who Dr. King was. Every day fighting every day lobbying. to make it better for us decades later. Many people quote Dr. King's "I have a dream speech" --which I love. But my favorite quote from Dr. King is as follows.

"It doesn't matter how long you live but how well you do it" very poignant for a man shot down before his 40th birthday--who is now celebrated with a national holiday and a monument in the nation's capital that host hundreds of thousands each year. A man who changed the way we see not only ourselves but our future. We should all strive to be better--because of the way he made for us. So, I asked myself what traits did dr. King have that we all have, that we can all use to make a difference? I have identified 5 traits, and I have called them "The King Things"

1.) Perseverance is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Dr. King persevered through personal attacks like an assassination attempt in 1958 while in Harlem, New York. King was on a break when he was approached by a woman who asked him his name. When king told her, she pulled out a steel letter opener and stabbed him in the chest. While still in the hospital Dr. King said he still supported nonviolence and wasn't angry with the woman.

He knew his journey was much bigger than what was happening then. How many of us persevere? These days it's so easy to give up. To let go. Preservice is a decision.

2.) Confidence is defined as the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something firm trust.

Dr. King had faith in God. He was a Baptist minister who started with a small group of people. But he knew his call was bigger and higher. Having the confidence to get out there and start talking to people about the injustice he was seeing. Injustice like black men and women being denied the right to vote even after the voting rights act of 1965.

Confidence comes from within. No one can assign you confidence. You must have it in your heart.

Being on television--I know this very well. This thing called confidence is a deflector to the haters or the people who don't like you. To be confident means you are unmoved by people's opinions. They like me: great. They don't like me that's also great. Dr. King was facing great opposition to his fight for civil rights---and he had great confidence that what he was doing was the right thing. Some would say he saw it as his God given assignment on this earth, so he moved forward in it. Don't allow anyone to steal your confidence--which comes from the inside.

3.) Strength is defined as the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure.

Dr. King was under great pressure being in the fore front of the civil rights movement. After Dr. King was assassinated in April 1968 at the age of 39--the autopsy revealed that his heart was in the condition of a 60-year-old man. The doctors attributed that the daily stress--daily pressure Dr. King was under. Marches, death threats, threats to his family and loved ones. But the definition of strength as we just said is the ability to withstand it. Which he did.

What do you need strength for today? How can you withstand the pressures that you deal with? It may a bully at school--it may be a work situation. People talk about finding strength. We all have it--it comes out most when it needs to be applied. Apply it.

4.) Leadership, A leader is defined a person who guides or directs a group.

In August 1963 Dr. King spoke to about 200,000 during the March on Washington during his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. He told them his dream of racial equality and how we shouldn't give up on fighting for it. And people fought, non-violently, under his leadership. They held protests and rallies and sent letters and lobbied for justice.

Dr. King wouldn't have been able to rally anyone if he didn't encourage them. How do you lead? Who are you encouraging to be better? Who are you inspiring? That's what leadership is about. It's not about delegating everything--in some ways--like Dr. King we must lead by example.
The most respected leaders are the ones who get their hands dirty.

5.) Compassion is defined as the concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. You know Dr. King was highly educated got his PhD from Boston University at the age of 25. Things were a little better for Black people up north. He could have just stayed in the Boston area and raised his family. His future wife Coretta was at the New England Conservatory also in Boston. But Dr. King felt the pull. That pull was compassion. He saw black people beaten and refused basic rights like using a bathroom fit for human beings and being able to ride on a bus alongside white people--in the front.
In 1955 a 14-year-old boy by the name of Emmett Till was kidnapped and murdered in Mississippi. I am not going to get into the details of Tills murder. The images and story of Till left me sleepless as a young child.
But a month after the Till lynching, Dr. King described it and said ''it might be considered one of the most brutal and inhuman crimes of the twentieth century."
The language Dr. King used to describe Tills death "inhuman" screams of compassion. That compassion lead to a louder call to action.
I challenge you today--reignite whatever triggers that human compassion. That's probably an area where you can make a difference.

MLK Day is over, but you can apply what we all have in common with Dr. king to your life daily. Please consider these five areas:


7 Interesting Facts About Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the face of the Civil Rights movement in the United States and this is why he is so rightly remembered. He was killed at the age of 39 because he was willing to stand up for the equal rights of his people. Rather than settle for a separate-but-equal compromise that was being pushed for at the time, MLK wanted true equality. It may have cost him his life, but his work has lived on for generations.

Although his life has been well documented over the years, there are some interesting facts about Martin Luther King, Jr. that you may not know.

1. Martin Wasn’t His Real Name

MLK was actually born with the name Michael. That was also his father’s name. In 1931, however, MLK’s father became the pastor of a baptist church in Atlanta and this caused him to adopt the name Martin Luther King. When MLK was 6 years old, his father officially changed his name on his birth certificate to reflect the change for his son as well. Would Michael King have been able to create the same lasting change? No one will ever now.

What we do know is that young MLK loved to sing in his father’s church. In a very pointing moment, he sang in the church choir during the gala premiere of Gone With the Wind in Atlanta. With his life, he constantly proved that he really did “give a damn.”

2. He Had an Old Man’s Heart

There is no doubt that MLK was under a lot of stress in life. People were threatening his family, sometimes on a daily basis. Being the face of social change meant that there were long hours that needed to be worked, new ideas that needed to be introduced to people every day, and repetitive challenges that didn’t allow for much coping. In some ways, it is pretty amazing that MLK could do as much as he did.

When the autopsy was performed on King after the successful assassination, the doctors noticed something unique about his heart. Although MLK was just 39, the heart looked like it belonged to a 60 year old man. Another contributor was his regular smoking habit. King smoked regularly, although he kept it under wraps because he didn’t want others to see him as a role model who used cigarettes.

3. He Was a Genius

MLK entered college at the age of 15. That’s because he was able to skip his freshman and senior year of high school because of his intelligence. This gave him a leg up on the advanced schooling that he eventually received, gaining a bachelor’s in theology and a second in sociology. In 1955, he was awarded a doctorate from Boston University. He wasn’t even 30 yet at the time. By the age of 39, he’d already had more life experience and education than most people who were in their 50’s.

4. There Are 900 Streets Named After Him

In the United States, there are 40 states that have at least one street named after MLK. Around the world, there are more than 900 streets named after him as well. For a man who had to spend his wedding night in a Blacks only funeral home because the local White hotel rejected him and his money, that’s a pretty lasting legacy.

So are the 2,500 speeches that he ended up giving over the course of 11 years when he traveled the country and the world to advocate for equal rights. In total, King journeyed more than 6 million miles and reached countless more millions through his 5 books and the numerous magazine and newspaper articles that he wrote.

5. Who Topped MLK in the 20th Century?

According to a Gallup Poll that was conducted in 1999, the only person that received more admiration than MLK for a job well done was Mother Teresa. When he was 35, King became the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which at the time made him the youngest person to ever receive it. So great was his influence, in fact, that King became one of the 10 martyrs of the world during the 20th century that are depicted in life-sized statues at London’s Westminster Abbey.

King donated all of the money from winning the Nobel Peace Prize, about $400k in today’s funds, to the Civil Rights movement.

6. He Got a “C” Grade In Public Speaking

King’s “I Have a Dream” speech might be one of the most memorable speeches of the last 100 years. He was often known and remembered as being a gifted public speaker, but what isn’t often known is that he got a C in public speaking during his first year while studying theology. No one knows why he was given this grade and eventually King became the student body president and the valedictorian of his class, so no harm, no foul.

7. He Convinced Uhura To Stay

Nichelle Nichols wanted to get out of Star Trek after the first season of the show. She didn’t have a very large role and wanted to pursue other things. MLK talked to her about staying with the show because she was a black woman who was seen as an equal on television during a time when they were all fighting for equality. She was seen as intelligent and an important member of the cast.

Just ask Whoopi Goldberg about how much this affected her life. She saw a woman on TV that looked like her and wasn’t a maid. It inspired her to get into the entertainment business and Goldberg loved Star Trek so much that when the next series came around in the late 80’s and early 90’s, she pushed to get a role on the show because she loved it so much. The second African American in space, Ronald McNair, is also on record saying that the character of Uhura inspired him as well.


7 things we didn’t know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King is mostly known for his influence in the U.S. Civil Rights movement and his &ldquoI Have a Dream&rdquo speech, but his life goes beyond his timeless quotes.

Every year, we observe a federal holiday on the third Monday of January, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia on Jan. 15, 1929. He became a spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination on April 4, 1968. Dr. King worked to raise public awareness of racism and end racial discrimination and segregation in the United States.

Here are a few things you may not know about Dr. Martin Luther King:

  1. His birth name wasn&rsquot Martin. His given name was Michael. That is why his family and closest friends called him &ldquoMike.&rdquo When he was 5 years old, his father changed his name after attending an international Baptist conference in Germany about the teachings of 16th century religious thinker Martin Luther.
  2. He worked for a newspaper. At 13-years old he had a paper route. His work ethic allowed him to get promoted and become the youngest assistant manager for The Atlanta Journal delivery station.
  3. Dr. King started college at 15 years old. He enrolled at the Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Morehouse College, and completed a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1948.
  4. He had a doctorate in philosophy. In 1955, he earned his Ph.D. from Boston University.
  5. He wrote five books. His publications include a book of his sermons, &ldquoStrength to Love&rdquo a collection of his broadcasted addresses, &ldquoThe Trumpet of Conscience&rdquo and essential writings, &ldquoWhy We Can't Wait.&rdquo
  6. He won a Grammy Award. His speech &ldquoWhy I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam&rdquo was recorded on vinyl and won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album in 1969.
  7. He was the youngest man to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize. At age 35, he received the prize for his nonviolent resistance to racial prejudice in America.

An ongoing fight: Health care justice

Besides fighting for racial justice, we are still working to achieve equal rights for people of every race, gender, economic status, among others. But one issue, even more so now during the pandemic, is health care justice and health disparities for our communities of color.

Dr. Martin Luther King delivered this important quote during a Chicago press conference in March 1966: &ldquoOf all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.&rdquo In his lifetime, African American communities were segregated and received inferior medical care. Unfortunately, we still can see disparities in health care for these communities.

At Quartz, we recognize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion to build an environment of trust and respect, making a positive impact on employees and members alike. Here are some of Quartz&rsquos initiatives to help bridge the gap in health disparities:

  • Celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday &ndash By including MLK Day as a company-approved holiday, we are demonstrating our commitment to valuing diverse insights, perspectives, and backgrounds. The decision came about due to employee feedback and the efforts of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Change Team.
  • Quartz Cares Matching Program &ndashQuartz Cares started after the COVID-19 Pandemic and it was in response to the needs of the communities we serve. Quartz employees donated $21,200 to local organizations that focus on racial and health disparities. Our company match brought donations to more than $42,400.
  • Addressing COVID-19 Health Disparities &ndash Quartz is empowering our members most vulnerable to COVID-19 with information about prevention and resources if they feel they have experienced discrimination when seeking medical services.
  • COVID-19 community financial support &ndash DE&I joined the Quartz Cares team, raising awareness for community members who were eligible for help with premiums.
  • Health Insurance 101&ndash This presentation (in English, Spanish, and Hmong) educated communities of color and other ethnicities. It focused on how health insurance works in the U.S., basic terminology, and who to contact with questions.
  • BadgerCare Plus Assessment Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) &ndash CLAS is an assessment requested by The Department of Health Services (DHS) of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to focus efforts on reducing health disparities. Quartz assessed and adjusted its efforts to best support BadgerCare Plus members.
  • Diversity Matters Cultural Competency Training &ndash Employees completed annual cultural competency.
  • Hiring Manager Training &ndash Quartz raised awareness about implicit bias with hiring managers and provided strategies for making objective hiring decisions.

Even though we have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do, every step we take to promote equality and bridge the gap in health disparities and racial injustice is a step toward a better society. Let&rsquos remember these immortal words from Dr. King that still inspire us: &ldquoI have a dream that one day this nation will rise and live out the true meaning of its creed &mdash we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.&rdquo


Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”

Today is the official U.S. celebration of Martin Luther King day. Every child in the States older than four can hear Dr. King’s "I have a dream" speech ring in their ears when his name comes up, so this might be a good day to look at Dr. King’s message–not only its content, which virtually every civilized person today agrees with, but how it was delivered.

"I have a dream" was a tipping point. King and thousands of others in the civil rights movement had been working tirelessly for years to fight for a federal civil rights act, and for legal equality and social dignity for all people, without regard to the color of their skin. But as a Kennedy administration official mentioned in a radio interview today, this August, 1963 speech was the moment when Martin Luther King took his place not as a black leader but as a world leader.

It’s very hard to remember now that they didn’t know they were going to win. For years, civil rights and the defeat of Jim Crow looked like impossible dreams. To say that changing entrenched thinking, replacing an ugly false story with the true one, was an uphill battle is like saying that Everest is a damn steep hill.

Breaking down the dream
"I have a dream" is the work of one of the most powerful and effective communicators of his generation. Read the speech yourself and see if it doesn’t give you chills. (Copyblogger posted a long exerpt today without comment, a classy move that I should have had the sense to emulate.)

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

The speech is, of course, the work of a dedicated, talented and inspired writer, and there’s no simple technique that can be copied. But for a communicator, it’s still worth studying. As a writer, you can’t replicate the beautiful cadence (although you can try to be aware of the rhythms of your own writing, and make them more lovely), but there are things that you can learn from.

The word that makes that sentence remarkable is probably "red." That concrete, simple descriptor puts the scene in the mind of the audience. Those who have been to Georgia will say, "yes, the hills are red." The picture becomes real. And even for people from Singapore or Paris or Australia who have never been to Georgia, there is a second echo–the sense of a red, bloody battleground today contrasted with the simple, peaceful table of brotherhood tomorrow.

There is a nice sense, too, of ordinariness about the "table of brotherhood." Most of us sit down every day at tables with intimates and friends. It is not extraordinary. We give little thought to the grandparents or great-grandparents of who sits at that table. This simple sentence takes something that was at the time difficult to picture and makes it easy, normal and natural.

A few sentences later, Dr. King says:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. . . . one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

After he has introduced this quiet, simple idea to you–black and white sitting down in brotherhood–he raises the stakes by bringing children into the equation. The most rigid stereotypes usually soften a little when we think about small children. However tightly we define our own tribe, however fiercely we hate the other side, there’s usually a tiny bit of room in our thinking to adopt a child from the other. Dr. King sends his own small children as emissaries to the hearts of his audience.

Having built this strong foundation on the personal, King takes the argument to the divine:

. . . one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

Just a few moments later the speech climbs to its climax, one of the best uses of repetition in the history of public discourse, the "freedom ring" sequence.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

If this doesn’t make all the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you might be dead. Supported by Dr. King’s tremendous speaking voice, the repetition and clarity of this message transported the audience of 250,000–including the presidential administration–to readiness for the final, triumphant conclusion:

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

The dream today
We seem very far from Dr. King’s dream today, but that is because we forget how impossible that dream looked when he spoke those words. Even Martin Luther King, with his vast optimism and clarity of purpose, could not have imagined how quickly we would make important strides.

Like the old carpenter’s joke about building a house, the first 90% takes 90% of the time, and the last 10% takes the other 90% of the time. Today is a good day to celebrate how far we have come, and to give some serious reflection to how we can complete the work. We all know this is not just an American problem or an American dream. You can work for justice from anywhere.

And pencil in some time tomorrow to think about your own dream. Maybe you’re ignited by a great and noble dream like Dr. King’s, or maybe yours is a little smaller. Either way is ok. Think about what you can create to share that dream, to make it real for someone else, to give the dream a life of its own that can survive you.

If you happen to use his construction of comfortable abstraction to personalization to a stirring global vision, you’ll be honoring his memory in a small way. Not a bad thing at all.



Comments:

  1. Prometheus

    There are many more options

  2. Kwesi

    you still remember 18 centuries

  3. Tole

    Congratulations, your idea brilliantly



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