As we continue to celebrate MLK Weekend, Here’s a few more pieces to get u through the Day
below is a nice speech from King where he talks about the schizophrenic nature of the American Dream. It’s very powerful and gives you lots to think about… We flipped it with a classic beat from Dr Dre.. Enjoy
Next up is a nice video that pays tribute to Bloody Sunday.. That was on March 7 1965 when Dr King and about 600 Civil Rights marchers attempted to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. When they came to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met with a line of police and bully clubs.. many of the marchers were badly beaten.. This song captures the moment
Lastly is the speech that many speculate led to King being killed. It was the historic speech where he talks about why he opposed the War in Vietnam.. It was a compelling speech where he goes in on the US and her policy of military violence. He also talks about the intense poverty here in the country.
What many folks don’t like talking about is how shortly after the speech major newspapers from all over the country vilified King. They accused him of being unpatriotic. Not only did he lose support amongst the mainstream, he also lost a lot of popularity amongst other Blacks and Civil Rights leaders. Many felt that he stepped out of his lane and that by speaking on the war, it would mess up their funding. You don’t hear too many people apologizing years later for dissing King and abandoning him for speaking out against the war.
This weekend we’ll be celebrating what would’ve been Dr Martin Luther King‘s 82cd birthday and in doing so we should all be mindful of the power of his words. We should be mindful of King’s words as we continue to dialogue about what sort of responsibility those who speak to the public have especially via broadcast medium.
King who challenged Jim Crowlaws and discrimination was considered by his enemies to be a rabble rouser who was creating a dangerous climate with ‘incendiary’words. His words were so powerful that former FBI headJ Edgar Hoover saw fit to follow him and try to disrupt his activities via a program called Cointel-Pro.
There were many including some Black preachers who did not want King to come to their towns and speak because he would stir things up. His ability to move the masses was threatening.
Now at the end of the day, King was able to help push through the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 which put an end to most Jim Crow Laws. He was able to help get the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed which ended discrimination practices at the polls. At the same time Kings powerful words so enraged folks, that he was constantly receiving death threats. He also ruffled the feathers of powerful people including President Lydon Johnson after he spoke out against the Vietnam War.
If Kings words were seen as important weapons against discrimination, why are we not seeing the words of today’s far right punditry weapons to support oppression and draconian behavior and policies?
The other thing to keep in mind about Dr King was his shrewd understanding of media in particular radio and what a powerful tool it was. many do not talk about the special relationship King had withJack ‘Jack tha Rapper Gibson and the nations first Black owned radio station WERD founded in 1949 which was housed in the same building as King’s SCLC headquarters on Auburn street in Atlanta.
Gibson is credited with being the first to broadcast King and other Civil Rights leaders on public airwaves. There are stories about how when rallies and special events were unfolding, King would bang on the ceiling with a broom to the studio housed above him, the disc jockey would lower the boom mic and King would speak to the people via radio.
In 1967 Dr King delivered a rare and powerful speech in Atlanta to NATRA ( National Association of Television and Radio Announcers). The members of this important African American organization were very appreciative as King laid out the indispensable role Black radio had played in shaping and furthering the Civil Rights struggle. King names off some of the key unsung radio heroes who he says there would not have been a Civil Rights movement had they not reflected the mood of the people and brought critical information to the masses.
King also talks about how radio is the most important and predominant medium in the Black community. It has far more reach and influence than television. He also talks about how the music these Black radio announcers played. King asserted that it helped united people. King pointed out how Blacks and Whites were listening to the same songs and doing the same dances and that the Soul Music these disc jockey’s played had served as an important cultural bridge.
He also talks about how some of them were vilified for ‘creating a climate’ that led to the unrest in American cities. Most notable was the radio announcer namedMagnificent Montague who had coined the phraseBurn Baby Burnto describe a hot record, but was later used a rallying cry for the Watts Riots of 1965.