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Monday, January 30, 2012

52 Week 5 - Martin Luther King Jr: Upon the Mountaintop

A man for all time...

I’m quite sure everyone knows Martin Luther King, Jr. And his accomplishments. I’m not going to go into a long winded autobiographical analysis of his life and tragic assassination. I’m not going to speak for him. I will let him speak for himself. His incredible ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever read, and is directly the reason why I’ve ultimately rejected the wishy-washy philosophy of ‘moderation’. When injustice abounds, moderation is simply an enabling force.
The part which spoke to me the most was this one: Follow me after the jump...



I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler 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 cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

The rest is contained here:
 
In addition, one of his greatest speeches, ‘I have a dream’ in its entirety. It still gives me goosebumps.

Now, for a bit of digression, there were times when I was in University, when being the only Black student in my program would sometimes become too much to bear. The ignorant comments, the sense of isolation and the lack of empathy from everyone around you were ever present. There were many times when I felt I’d be happier, or better off in a more diverse program. I was days away from transferring when I read the story of how MLK convinced Nichelle Nichols to remain on Star Trek as Uhura. You can read the story here.

Now, I’m not saying I’m as important as that, far from it, but the story crystallized in my mind the importance of seeing people who look like you doing something you want to do. Needless to say, I remained and I eventually joined the National Society of Black Engineers where one of the things I’ve made a point of doing is encouraging young men of color to choose a career in engineering and science. And this all came about because of Dr. King’s unique insight. I can’t overstate how important he’s been to my development as a person. I only wish he could have been alive to see the world today. We’ve made great progress, but in a lot of ways we have miles left to go.

Greatest Quote:
...freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.



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