My dear friend Eric once told me that he celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. day each year by listening to King’s “I Have A Dream Speech”. I thought this was a great idea and decided to do the same and encouraged my high school students to do so as well. This year as MLK day approached I was listening to NPR’s Barbershop podcast, when I heard Jimi Izrael say he was no longer sure if Martin Luther King Jr. was the icon society needed today.[i] His fellow hosts disagreed but his comments have lingered as I thought about my MLK day blog posting. Initially I was going to simply post that everyone should consider listening to the, “I Have A Dream Speech”, but that now seemed inadequate as I wondered whether I should identify a modern icon for civil rights.
Then I stumbled upon an article on CNN about the greatest King speeches that people never heard. These speeches reveal dimensions of King that society rarely finds in textbooks or as part of MLK day celebrations. So I have decided to provide a brief description of four alternative speeches worthy of several minutes of our day on January 20th 2014. Feel free to pick the one that most intrigues you. Of course, if King’s famous speech stirs you, by all means make that speech part of your day tomorrow.[ii]
“A Time to Break the Silence”
Anti-Vietnam speech when most Americans still supported war.
“Our God is Marching on”
Perhaps the most electrifying speech and occurred shortly before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“The American Dream”
King says his dream has become a nightmare and wonders if income inequality is as crippling as racial inequality.
“Letter to Coretta”
Demonstrates how radical King was concerning economic theory.
And if you just want to hear or read King’s “I Have A Dream Speech”, here is the link. Click here
Featured image: http://old.seattletimes.com/special/mlk/