Monday, January 18, 2016

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
-Dr. Martin Luther King

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Day, 

Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike and was on his way to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old.King was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. that evening. He was a prominent leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was known for his use of nonviolence and civil disobedience.
Decades after his death, King's words continue to ring true for many people across the country and the world.In the last year alone more than 1 million tweets were posted quoting King, according to Twitter.
As I begin my blog today, my question of the day is What does Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Day mean to YOU? How many people actually know the origin of this day and what it means? Why was this day chosen?  Is it to celebrate his life or is it to reflect on his death? 
Actually, to me, it is a combination of the two. As someone who is about to turn 55 next month, I want to take a moment to reflect on his impact on my life. 

I grew up in South Carolina. I remember conversations where his name popped up because of things that were happening in the news. It was on April 4th of 1968 when he was assassinated in Memphis.                                                                                      
 
I was 7 years old when Dr. King Jr was assassinated. 
I still remember all the news coverage and even then KNEW that something was wrong. 
I have to say all these many years later, I have no room in my heart for hatred. My close friends know this about me. Most people who operate out of hatred, do so based on fear and misguided information. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work for social and economic justice changed the direction of our country and continues to inspire us today.
Waccamaw Elementary School
When I was in the third grade at Waccamaw Elementary School in Conway, South Carolina, in the late spring of 1969, our school was going through a transition. 
Miss Rust, our principal was retiring and she was being replaced by a younger more hip principal, Mrs. Singleton. When Mrs. Singleton, who was white, was brought in to our class to introduce ourselves to each other, she talked about the changes that would take place the next year. It was also going to be a new decade.
She asked how we would feel about having a black teacher the following year!?!?! We were third graders! My recollection was that it didn't matter to most of us. As a matter of fact, I was excited. 
I grew up with Miss Jennie Lou who was our baby sitter from the time that I was a small child. Her skin color was different from mine but I loved her with seeing absolutely no difference! So, having our first black teacher was exciting to me. The ONLY opposition I heard was from parents who threatened to take their kids out of school. 
I did not understand what the big deal was. I still don't.
The next year, when we started school, we had the first black teacher in the school, Miss Hickman.  Interestingly enough, in our school, there was a woman, Miss Mazie, who was the
custodian. 
She referred to everyone as her children! We would run up to her when we saw her for hugs! Can you imagine anyone in TODAY's schools being that close with kids? 
Color was NOT an issue with the kids. I guess as Oscar Hammerstein II said, "You've Got to Be Carefully taught." 
It was, however, with the other teachers in the school and some parents. Miss Hickman lasted one year at Waccamaw and then she went on, I was told, she went to work at the Citidel. Also, in 1970, as an "experiment", two kids were bused into our
school to see how they would integrate. 
One of them, I have been told, has sadly passed on. The other is still a friend thanks to Facebook. 
As I've grown elder, I'm constantly reminded of the legacy of Dr. King in terms of equality for all. King’s work is not done and neither is ours. For every step forward, I see two steps backwards. I am an a cockeyed optimist, but daily I see reminders of how we have not evolved. We have a presidential candidate who is at the forefront of the Republican party advocating putting walls around our borders to keep those out that he doesn't approve of AND keeping an entire group of people out of this country based on their religious views. We have another candidate in that same party putting down those who have a different "values" system from his own. Take a few minutes now to think about Dr. King and his work. 
Which presidential candidates from either side live by his example?
 These 100 People Have More Money Than All Black Americans Combined
 
How did THEY spend today?
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton praised South Carolina for removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia as roughly 1,000 gathered to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.

Not long after leaving each other on the debate stage Sunday night, the three Democratic candidates for president met again Monday morning to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
 THEN there is the Republican Party, although Jeb Bush had been railing against Donald Trump all week, he still had more to say on Saturday -- a lot more. He called Trump a jerk. In the election before Dr. King was assassinated, can you imagine a presidential candidate saying that about another candidate, regardless of his politics? What legacy are ANY of us leaving?

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
-Dr. Martin Luther King
From picture books to graphic novels, you are covered with great reads for kids of all ages
 “What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive...Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. And this is what we must see as we move on.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1967

I posted on Facebook/Twitter this AM: What does Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Day mean to YOU? Here are a few responses...
Let's embrace our differences rather than shutting them out!
 
 I don't have any "super-deep" thoughts, but MLK Day is always a reminder to me of the difference one person can make in the lives of others.  It also reminds me that service to others comes with a price, although it shouldn't ... but that is too often the way it is (and how do we change that?)

George Bettinger sent me this: Joey Adams speaks about the time he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King on behalf of integration. This is just a minute. There are some nice sound bites from this 30 minute show.



This is from Peggy Eason: If it were not for
Martin Luther King, black people would probably still not be able to vote in the south. If if it were not for Martin Luther King would still be riding on the back of the bus. If if it were not Martin Luther King we probably would still be having separate restrooms and bathrooms. Thank God he is willing to give his life for certain people's freedoms. If it were not for my phone of the king, we probably would not have a black president today. I am so grateful for that wonderful march on Washington. It brought people together. He believed in nonviolence.

Melodie Wolford wrote: It means my brother, who is mixed, has a better chance now to be respected. 
Pamela Singer: Peace, love and justice for ALL!
The Empire State Building is honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by glowing in red, black and green this evening. 

We've come so far from that fateful day on April 4, 1968, when a bullet ended the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, yet we have so terribly far to go.

Let's continue to shed light and put focus on the plight of the poor and disenfranchised today.  
 
Share his story, his legacy, and his dream.  
Thank to ALL that are mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give! 

Make 2016 the year of YES!

With grateful XOXOXs ,
 



 

Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!
Read about Pearl Bailey on Call on Dolly HERE

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   
        
Seattle marchers number well into thousands, issues range from labor to criminal justice reform.

It's a paw-fect day to march for civil rights and progress.

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
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Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com
Appearing February 13th will be Tony-nominated actress and singer Sally Mayes. Described by the New York Times as “a singer of incandescent ebullience, deliciously saucy,” Ms. Mayes is best known for her raved about performance in the Broadway revival of She Loves Me. She has also appeared on TV, in film and on multiple cast recordings. Ms. Mayes has released four solo albums. (See BELOW!)




February 13th, Peter Filichia in conversation with Richard Skipper at American Popular Song Society 

with Musical Director Michael Lavine
Sally Mayes and an all star cast
join  Peter Filichia and Richard Skipper
to celebrate the 1963/64 Broadway Season
Talk/Performance/Book Signing




Call Richard Skipper Celebrates at 845-365-0720 if you need more details.
Many surprises are in store. Please contact me if any questions.
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Admission is Free for Members/$15.00 for Non-Members .

Doors open at 12:30 for those who want to buy sheet music Also members can take tables and sell their stuff. 2:30 -1:30 "Flea Market" 1:30 seating - showtime: 1:45 - 3:30.
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