Happy Birthday, Martin!

Today is Martin Luther King Day – a public holiday in the USA (just a day before the Inauguration – how cool is that!).

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ … 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. I have a dream today.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it… Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Of course, Stevie Wonder wrote Happy Birthday in 1981 to call for a public holiday – a campaign that was so successful that President Reagan approved it only two years later.

Obama marks MLK Day

From the Guardian:

With just a day to go until his inauguration as the 44th president of the United States of America, Barack Obama will today invoke the spirit of Martin Luther King by taking part in a community renovation project in the Washington area to honour the civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968.

Today is the federal holiday commemorating the birthday of King, who advocated equality among races and peaceful resistance to discrimination, and is also a national “day of service” which Obama has called on Americans to honour by volunteering in a wide variety of projects including delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centres, collecting food and clothing, removing graffiti and reading to children.

Obama’s decision to shape the final day of his pre-presidential life around the man who many feel blazed the trail for him to become the first black president, came after he honored another giant political figure: Abraham Lincoln. On Saturday, Obama and his family took the train from Philadephia to Washington, in an echo of the route taken by Lincoln on his way to the presidency in 1861, before attending a rally for national renewal at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, which heard performances by Bruce Springsteen, Mary J Blige, Beyoncé and U2.

The vice-president-elect Joe Biden is also volunteering today as part of the annual Martin Luther King “day of service”. More than 12,100 service projects are taking place across the country, more than double last year’s number after Obama urged Americans to volunteer on the holiday. More than a million people are expected to make it “a day on, not a day off”.

Martin Luther King at Washington DCs Lincoln Memorial in 1968.
Martin Luther King at Washington DC’s Lincoln Memorial in 1968.

Stevie Wonder – Happy Birthday

You know it doesn’t make much sense
There ought to be a law against
Anyone who takes offense
At a day in your celebration
‘Cause we all know in our minds
That there ought to be a time
That we can set aside
To show just how much we love you
And I’m sure you would agree
It couldn’t fit more perfectly
Than to have a world party on the day you came to be

Happy birthday to you…

I just never understood
How a man who died for good
Could not have a day that would
Be set aside for his recognition
Because it should never be
Just because some cannot see
The dream as clear as he
That they should make it become an illusion
And we all know everything
That he stood for time will bring
For in peace our hearts will sing
Thanks to Martin Luther King

Happy birthday to you …

Why has there never been a holiday
Where peace is celebrated
All throughout the world

The time is overdue
For people like me and you
Who know the way to truth
Is love and unity to all god’s children
It should never be a great event
And the whole day should be spent
In full remembrance
Of those who lived and died for the oneness of all people
So let us all begin
We know that love can win
Let it out don’t hold it in
Sing it loud as you can

Happy birthday to you

We know the key to unify all people
Is in the dream that you had so long ago
That lives in all of the hearts of people
That believe in unity
Well make the dream become a reality
I know we will
Because our hearts tell us so

Martin Luther King “I have a dream”  – full speech

On 28 August, 1963, Martin Luther King delivered his historic “I have a dream speech” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech

Delivered on 3 April 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee – hours before his assassination.

Barack Obama Speaks at Dr. King’s Church

One year ago to the day – on the day before Martin Luther King Day 2008, Senator Barack Obama delivered this speech to the congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

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3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Martin!

  1. Thanks Bob. I’ve fixed them all except the Stevie Wonder – there isn’t a clip that’s licensed to play outside YouTube I’m afraid.

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