Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!


Martin Luther King’s words and acts have planted themselves in our collective psyche. They continue to grow and bear fruit in his influence on our worldview and to loosen the soil of prejudice in even the hardest, driest riverbeds of souls.

His legacy is a mighty river that waters us well, singing through our very souls. That river continues to carry us forward and to sing, deeply, movingly, its own (and our) river song.

I continue to be most inspired by those who live their lives in accordance with the principles of equality, love, and giving that Martin Luther King personifies.

Thank you, Martin Luther King, thank you today and every day!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2012

“A voice in the wilderness…”
By Annette Marie Hyder

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of
the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
— Isaiah 40:3, King James Version (Cambridge Edition)

Your voice rushes in the reeds of our consciousness
your words, like thunder, warned of an approaching storm
promising not destruction but blessed relief.

See how your words have changed the landscape of this nation
how the green can’t help but curl into being
in the most unlikely places. In a dry parched land
a nightingale still sings.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr., quintessential spokesman for equality, calling for the crooked to be made straight and wrong to be made right. May your words always shine bright, burn in the hearts of those hearing and light the way for all.

Links of interest:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2011
The Seattle Times Martin Luther King Jr. website

Excerpt from The Seattle Times Martin Luther King Jr. Website:

“Martin Luther King Jr. has now been dead longer than he lived. But what an extraordinary life it was.

At 33, he was pressing the case of civil rights with President
John Kennedy. At 34, he galvanized the nation with his “I Have a Dream”
speech. At 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. At 39, he was assassinated,
but he left a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today.

This Web site, first created by The Seattle Times in 1996,
contains the story of a remarkable man, images of a tumultuous time, and
perspectives of politicians, academics, students and the many, ordinary
citizens whose lives he touched. We invite you to explore it.” Link

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

preacher man
tanka with kigo
Annette Marie Hyder

honeyed scorpions
paired with loaves of righteousness
fall forth from his lips

there is fire to drink — and words
like fish feed the multitude

Celebrating his birth

Civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be 80 years old, had he lived past 39.

He is perhaps most famous for his “I Have a Dream” speech, given in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He put aside the written speech that he was reading from and spontaneously delivered his stirring paean to freedom.

Partial video of I Have a Dream speech via YouTube:

Man of the Year for 1963

In the wake of the speech and march, King was named Man of the Year by TIME magazine for 1963.

In 2002, the Library of Congress honored the speech by adding it to the United States National Recording Registry.

You probably already know that he was a contemporary of Ghandi and of Kennedy, and in 1964, he was the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

But, did you know that:

According to the Washington Post:

  • His father and grandfather were ministers of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
    Young Martin made his closest childhood friends at Ebenezer’s Sunday
    school and later said the school helped him learn how to get along with
  • His mother was a teacher who taught him to read before he
    started school. He began attending Yonge Street Elementary School when
    he was 5, but he wasn’t supposed to start until he was 6. So the school
    told him to stay home until he was a year older.
  • His mom taught him how to play the piano. He liked playing football and baseball as well.
  • He talked about being a firefighter when he grew up. As a child he visited Fire Station No. 6, the first fire station in Atlanta to be integrated.
  • He was a great student. In fact, he skipped ninth grade.
    And in 11th grade he scored so well on a college entrance exam that he
    skipped 12th grade and went straight to Morehouse College. He was 15 years old.

A day on, not a day off

There’s a focus on “A day on, not a day off” for celebrating Martin Luther King Day. According to The Daily Planet:

The effort has strong leadership from the top. In a press release, Michelle Obama explains:
Dr. King taught us to live a life of service, and he led by example. He once said:

“If you want to be important — wonderful. If you want to be recognized — wonderful. If you want to be great — wonderful. But, recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness.”


Copy of speech with audio link at americanrhetoric.com
Martin Luther King resources link at the University of Minnesota
Martin Luther King Wikipedia page
Martin Luther King videos at The History Channel

this poster as part of a Diversity Poster Set, including
Indian People of Minnesota, African Americans in Minnesota, Latinos y
Latinas en Minnesota
and Asians in Minnesota.