File puptcrit/puptcrit.0601, message 211


To: puptcrit-AT-lists.driftline.org
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 15:29:47 -0600
Subject: [Puptcrit] on artists memorial: In memory of Reverend Dr. Martin


I would imagine that some of you have worked on projects concerning the 
life and the work of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ? I'd love to 
read about them. see images, videos. etc. I'm somewhat ashamed to say 
that in over 50 years of working, I've done no production projects at 
all regarding the subject. The most, the only thing actually, that I 
have done is the following essay:
In memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

No man is an Iland, intire of its selfe: every
man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the
maine: if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea,
Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie
were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends
or of thine owne were: any mans death
diminishes me, because I am involved in
Mankinde: and therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee.
=96 John Donne

Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke the above verse during Nobel 
Lecture,  on December 11, 1964. His lecture was entitled "The Quest for 
Peace and Justice", delivered in the Auditorium of the University of 
Oslo, Norway. At the age of thirty-five, he was the youngest person to 
receive the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified, he announced that he 
would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the 
civil rights movement.

Today is the Monday designated as a American National Holiday 
commemorating the birthday of Dr. King. He was born as Michael Luther 
King, Jr. in Atlanta on January 15, 1929 (his father was also 
originally named Michael). He was renamed when he was about 5 years old 
when his father decided that they should both change their first names 
to Martin.

The authorized, sanitized version of Dr. King's life story is that he 
fought for racial justice in America. The reality is, in the last years 
of his life, Dr. King articulated a far bolder, broader and radical 
American renolutionary vision, encompassing a clear minded analysis and 
a severe criticism not only of the role of the United States in the 
world, but of the very nature of our political and economic system.

Dr. King's vision was articulated most powerfully in his "Beyond 
Vietnam" speech delivered at Riverside Church in New York City. He gave 
the speech on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned 
at Riverside Church in New York City. He was quickly condemned by the 
NAACP, civil rights leaders, the Democratic Party (he had campaigned 
for Lyndon Johnson) and the mainstream media.

It is doubtful that Dr. King would even be allowed to speak at any of 
the memorial events being held in his name were he alive today. But he 
does speak to us still as we again find ourselves at a time, well as he 
said in 1967:
"When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are 
considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, 
extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

He also said:
"These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting 
against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the 
wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being 
born.

The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never 
before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in 
the West must support these revolutions."

Others much more experienced and articulate than I have pointed out 
that these are still revolutionary times. Our country was born of 
revolution. I would argue that our democracy can only be served by 
continuing the American Revolution each day. But we have given in and 
given up. The shirtless and barefoot people of the world continue to 
rise up. But we do not support them and in fact, in many places, we 
support and are the very forces who use our overwhelming military power 
to enforce the conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice.

I would suggest that we revisit Dr. Kings words and read them in the 
light of the present day. "...A nation that continues year after year 
to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social 
uplift is approaching spiritual death."

Dr. Kings words are as meaningful, powerful and dangerous as they were 
in 1967. At least half of adult Americans condemn anyone speaking out 
against the present invasions and war.

Exactly to the day, one year after breaking his silence and speaking 
out against his nation's injustice, materialism and war waging, Martin 
Luther King, Jr. was silenced. Assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Those who call for us to celebrate his birthday but dishonor his life 
and work and spirit dishonor all human beings. King spoke well to use 
Donne's poem to remind us of who we can be, who we need to be.

"...therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee."

Michael John Moynihan
originally written on 01/17/05
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