Yesterday January 15 was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, but we celebrate it on the third Monday of January. I am celebrating Dr King’s birthday by remembering all the great things he did for us and sacrifices he made. Dr. King wanted equal rights for everyone, and he was committed to gaining that equality peacefully – no matter what. I have been watching documentaries, biographies and movies about Dr. King and the civil rights movement all day. I know the history. I know what happened, but it’s good to be watch all of these programs and be reminded and inspired that one person can truly make a difference if they truly believe. And I am trying to share Dr. King’s message by posting on Twitter, Facebook and writing this post on my blog.
I have been a fan of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr since I learned about him in high school. I may have learned about him earlier, but I don’t remember. I do remember that when I learned about U2 in my freshman year of high school with the release of The Joshua Tree, I realized they were the same group that had sang that song Pride I remembered hearing a few years earlier. Pride, about MLK, was one of my favorite songs back then and still remains one of my favorites today, especially live in concert.
When I moved to Memphis in 2008, I worked at the National Civil Rights Museum. I toured the museum the day after Barack Obama was elected President. It was amazing and incredibly touching to be standing where Dr. King was assassinated 40 years later on the day after a black man was elected president of the US. That day I ran into a friend who worked at the museum and he arranged an interview for me. I worked as a visitor service representative and had a great time teaching people about the civil rights movement. The National Civil Rights Museum is located at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis where Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The hotel was gutted for the museum, but the front remains and room 306 where Dr. King stayed is still in tact.
In 2009 when U2 played their 360 concert in Atlanta, I arrived a day early so I could visit the Martin Luther King Jr sites including the MLK National Historic Site, the house Dr. King was born in, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and MLK’s grave. I was sick that day in Atlanta but I had always wanted to visit Dr. King’s hometown and nothing was going to stop me.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr gave many great speeches in his life, but my favorite was his last. It has been dubbed the ‘Mountain Top’ speech, which he gave in Memphis the night before he was assassinated.
One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come here to justify
One man to overthrow
One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resists
One man washed on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss
Early evening, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
In the name of love!
What more in the name of love? – U2 Pride (in the name of love)