The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is once again upon us and we weather the maelstrom of MLK Day sales, promotions and advertisements on television, radio and Photoshopped party flyers. School children are home and many governmental, industrial and corporate entities are closed in celebration of Kings contributions to American society. Wife Coretta Scott King and countless celebrities like Stevie Wonder and Gil Scott-Heron were instrumental in helping push through legislation that led to America creating its first and only holiday dedicated to the memory and legacy of an African American in 1986, though Arizona and some corporations like Microsoft and Apple do not recognize the King Holiday.
Two years ago, Paramount Pictures released the Ava DuVernay-directed film Selma. The film focuses on three months in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he embarks on a mission to fight voter discrimination and Jim Crow in Selma, Alabama.
While not a documentary like Spike Lees critically-acclaimed offering Three Little Girls, DuVernay said that her work was intended to cast King in a less homogenized, more realistic light.
“So, I was always talking about Contemporary images of Black people. Thats what I do, because that is what I do,” said DuVernay. “Right off, when we talked about it, it wasnt something I was jumping up and down about. I think Ive been somewhat allergic to Black historical dramas in the past. In general, I feel a distance from them in some ways. When Im watching, I feel distant from whats happening. Its just not my favorite form. Its just not my favorite category of film. But this is not a biopic. This is not a cradle to the grave film on King. This is looking at a three month timeframe in his life when an extraordinary campaign happened in the course of American history. Its just fascinating. Its rife with everything you want as a storyteller.”
For many, MLK has been reduced to a statue, a Day in January and his I Have a Dream speech in which he spoke of a day when all Americans would be free at last to befriend, love and live as they so choose without the Abomination of racism haunting their actions.
Today, thanks in large part to the Internet, it is possible to research any subject we please with great certainty as to the accuracy of the information yet most Americans would only be able to recall his I Have a Dream speech when asked. Today, in the hopes that some of our countrymen would be made more aware of the humanity, complexity and evolution of this great man, we publish several obscure yet eye-opening King speeches and sermons in celebration of his contributions.
On Federal Subsidies
The Three Evils of Society Speech
Street Sweeper Speech
Mountaintop Speech (King’s Last Speech)
Martin Luther King, Jr’s “But if Not” sermon