Martin Luther King (Redux)

Today is the anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech, a speech, that is as masterful oratory as it is, message actually leaves me sort of cold. For the most part, politically, Dr. King and I are not compatible. But with out a doubt I have great respect for a man who sacrificed himself trying to lead our glorious race to a better place in the US and indeed the world. So in honor of his special day I will post my favorite Martin Luther King clip. For me, it is his most powerful message.

The MLK that’s never quoted.

“‎”Nobody can do this for us. No document can do this for us. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation, no Kennesonia, no Johnsonian civil rights bill can totally bring this kind of freedom. No, if the Negro is to be free he must reach down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with the pen & ink of assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery.

 Martin Luther King

The good Dr and I shared a favorite song and gospel artist in How I Got Over by  Mahalia Jackson. Listen to both they will deepen your life experience.

Leontyne’s Heights

Massive dignity even in illustration

“If you are going to think Black, think positive about it. Don’t think down on it, or think it is something in your way. And this way, when you really do want to stretch out, and express how beautiful Black is, everybody will hear you.”

Today we have to many African Americans*, especially in the public eye and especially in academia , pretending being black is some albatross on their necks white folks need to ignore or reward in order for them to succeed. Most will try to cover up those feelings of inadequacies up with false proclamations of pride. Mainly concerning some “radical” Negro telling white people off, “speaking truth to power” or some such, like a rebellious teen does to his momma. But they give away their feelings of inadequacy by showing how worried they are about the Caucasian race’s opinions . Sadly, they don’t know prospering and ascending; taking black culture to new, yet tradition rooted, heights is far more impressive than petty rebellion.  The accomplished Leontyne Price basically understood this and that’s why I decided to highlight her words at the beginning of this post.

* I use African American instead of Negro or Black on purpose.

Sister Odetta Sings

To disabuse any notion that my love for Mahalia leads me to ignore other great female singers, I present to you this rendition of Motherless Child by Odetta. Odetta (why don’t we have such names anymore) was known as the Queen of American Folk music(dubbed so by MLK)  and was instrumental in its revival in the 60’s. While I do have my issues with folk revivalist, as I don’t like much of it and find many times the singers render the remakes in a most unsoulful manner, Odetta’s abilities to  summon the full range of emotion and sing some of the songs as if she was field herself has made me a life long fan.

Great stuff from a good woman.