Five links for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to the Bleeding Heartland community. Here are some links I enjoyed today.

Mother Jones put together a slide show on how we got this holiday, with photos of those who helped, and those who stood in the way.

Here are a couple dozen quotes from the civil rights leader.

Listen here as MLK explains, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam."

The AFSCME blog compiled some of MLK's comments about labor.

Susannah Heschel describes the relationship between Dr. King and her father, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

This is an open thread.


The 22nd annual event hosted by the Iowa Department of Human Rights and the Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans took place this morning at the Iowa Historical Building. Branstad was scheduled and listed in the program as signing a proclamation as well as delivering an address.

Branstad arrived around 10:40 a.m., signed the proclamation and made a few statements.  He was then overheard apologizing to some of the event organizers, saying he was too busy to give the address, noting that this is one of his first days in office. Branstad was sworn in Friday.

Branstad then took a few questions from the press before he and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds left.

Tim Albrecht, a spokesman for the governor, said Branstad was in meetings today that weren't open to the public.

Wonder who he made time for on the holiday.

  • I guess "sanitizing" MLK is my biggest gripe...

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad there is official recognition for his life and work.  

    I'm just sad that people don't get it since his work has been sanitized and "sanctioned" by the government.  

    Friends and I were flyering in front of the National Cathedral in DC prior to an MLK Day commemoration service some years back. We were trying to raise awareness of the issue of disproportionate minority confinement in prison, and several white liberal types just glared at us, telling us we should be ashamed of co-opting such a solemn event with our "personal agenda".  Okaaaaaaayyyy?

    For me this disconnect started in 2nd grade. My grandma had recordings of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger that I had listened to from birth.  When they tried to teach me "This Land is Your Land", I pointed out that they left out some of the verses.  Ya know, the verses where Woody calls into question property rights versus people's rights, and asks why people go hungry in the land of plenty? Once again, they "sanitized" Woody for public consumption.

    Now I see that they are trying to "sanitize" Daniel Ellsberg, the "whistleblower" that leaked the "Pentagon Papers".  He was arrested a month ago (for the umpteenth time) in front of the White House for protesting government policies.  He has been very vocal in his support of Army Private Bradley Manning, who is being held in solitary confinement at Quantico due to suspicion that he was the source of a significant amount of information released by WikiLeaks. As well, Daniel Ellsberg has been extremely vocal in his support of Julian Assange.  

    This from an article at Common Dreams;

    Amid its struggle to contain damage from the WikiLeaks revelations, the State Department announced Saturday that "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers" has been selected as one of 18 films that will tour the world this year as part of its "American Documentary Showcase" program.

    Let's just "sanitize" the legacy of these people as a way to diminish the radical positions they actually preach.

  • Well

    We sanitize those things because we would have a literally bloody revolution in the country if we implemented actual socialism Elton.  The far right wing already thinks true socialism is a foot, imagine how many Congress people would have to fear for their lives if they expressed actual socialist sediments.  Major Owens  (not in Congress anymore)and Barbara Lee not withstanding.

    You have to actually "force" people into programs in order to get true social change.  We can't even get people to vote for a tax increase to pave roads that we all use, you can forget people being happy about paying for a free breakfast program for the most impoverished in America.

    I personally don't like some of King's methods myself because I think you can be compassionate and reasonable without an imaginary friend in the sky. But I understand why rational people use God as a guilt trip in order to create social change.  

    Another angle on this I don't know if we moved to true socialism, whether some of the most impoverished people we have would just reflexively look for the government and God as opposed to just looking in the mirror and believe in yourself.    To create social change and redistribution of wealth, there takes a certain amount of vilification and brow beating of the wealthy that a right winger like me (in your eyes) would not be comfortable with in my estimation.  

    • Socialism? God? More about Personal Responsibility methinks...

      You see these folks as "socialist"?   Interesting. This is exactly where my gripe comes from.  

      King's primary focus had nothing to do with implementing "socialism" or vast social change. The primary focus of the civil rights campaign was exactly that, establishing fundamental civil rights for African Americans.

      The right to vote, the right to attend a public school, the right to eat, sleep, piss and shit in ordinary public accommodations.

      The fact that the idea of allowing people of another race to engage in the full exercise of democracy is viewed as "socialist"?  

      I liked your comment about dealing with the person in the mirror.  That is exactly where social transformation happens, when one person steps up and takes personal responsibility to see it through.  This is what we need to educate our young folks to believe in, the transformative power of the individual, and the idea of personal responsibility to the community at large.

      By turning people into larger than life folk heros or saints, the state maintains the status quo by giving the illusion that these are not ordinary people in any sense of the word, but possessed supernatural gifts which the average person could never achieve.  

      What I really truly want?  It's a world where statues exist not for the purpose of reminding us of our inferior status to the "Grand Heros of the Republic", but for the sole purpose of providing pigeons with someplace to take a shit.

      • Elton you misread

        I agree with you on the Civil Rights movement.  It was about letting people do basic things in a public place and wasn't about socialism.

        I think you are discounting some of King's later work when it came to worker's rights however and to say his work had nothing to do with social change is not true, it was change that a long time coming and should have come sooner.  King, John Lewis, even the more violent members of the civil rights movement had to change hearts and minds, create social change.  

        Conservatives perceive this as socialism Elton, read my statement don't make reactionary assumptions.

        I'm not exactly sure what you mean by Grand Heroes of the Republic", but I still think an average person can become a U.S.  Senator.  Was Frank Lautenberg born successful?  I think not.  

        Some socialism is necessary in society Elton, fighting for better mandated wages for sanitation workers is socialism by book definition. Do I consider it Socialism?   Hell no.  

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