AADL has a pair of live events to mark MLK Day on Monday (January 16), plus an amazing LEGO exhibit on display at the Library for a month starting January 16. We also have additional content and collection suggestions for those who want to learn more about Dr. King and his life listed below.
Veterans for Peace | MLK and Militarism: What Would MLK Say Today?
Monday (January 16) 6pm at the Downtown Library
MLK declared there were three issues that adversely influence American Culture: Racism, Extreme Materialism and Militarism. Bob Krzewinski and Bill Shea of local Veterans For Peace chapter 93 will discuss MLK's point of view on Militarism and suggest what he might say about new international militarism and current events.
Film Screening: In Remembrance of Martin
Monday (January 16) 6pm at Pittsfield
In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, join us to watch In Remembrance of Martin, a 1986 film that depicts personal stories from the civil rights leader's family and friends.
Exhibit: Selma to Montgomery
January 16 to February 16 at the Downtown Library (Lobby)
"Selma to Montgomery" is a mosaic depicting a historic march for voting rights. This demonstration started at the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 21, 1965 and concluded at the state capitol in Montgomery, AL. Led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., thousands of nonviolent demonstrators gathered for this 5-day march, which culminated at the steps of the Alabama state capitol. Here, MLK delivered a sermon entitled "Our God is Marching On" in which he proclaimed:
"...the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man."
This march marked a turning point in the voting rights movement. In August of that year, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. This important legislation outlawed discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, opening a door for many Black and brown voters to register to vote.
"Selma to Montgomery" was created using over 16,000 hand-painted LEGO bricks, and it measures ~90" x 40". It was inspired by a photograph captured by Steve Schapiro at Life Magazine. With arms interlocked and leading the march in the photo are (from left to right): Ralph Abernathy, James Forman, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Jesse Douglas, and John Lewis.
About the artist: Aaron Liepman is a Biology Professor at Eastern Michigan University and mosaic artist. To see more of his artwork visit his website at http://www.brickmaniac.com and/or follow him on Instagram: @brickmosaics
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE COLLECTION
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.
A special volume commissioned and authorized by his family, here is the life and times of Martin Luther King, Jr., drawn from a comprehensive collection of writings, recordings, and documentary materials, many of which have never before been made public.
The Wisdom of Martin Luther King Jr. (CD)
Contains some of the most important speeches of MLK's life.
Death of a King: The Real Story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year by Tavis Smiley
A dramatic chronicle of the 12 months leading up to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
In Remembrance of Martin (streaming video)
A PBS documentary filmed in Atlanta on the first federal holiday in his honor. Includes archival footage of Dr. King's life, including being fingerprinted after his arrest during the Montgomery bus boycott, his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial, and his 1964 acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize. Also includes interviews with Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, Desmond Tutu, Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond, and more.
Body of Work Podcast: MLK Episode
We talk about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr as a pop culture figure. Also, the words "hot preacher" may have been involved....
MLK: IN HIS OWN WORDS
Each video below is a hand-drawn Illustration of a quote from the speeches, articles, and correspondences delivered at various points in Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.
August 6, 1946: Letter to the Editor, Atlanta Constitution
A quote from a letter to the Editor of the Atlanta Constitution that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote as a sophomore at Morehouse College. The letter criticizes the tendency of "a certain class of people" to encourage a sense of fear about social intermingling and intermarriage between the races, and asserts that these specific issues aren't particularly relevant. Instead, King lists several rights and opportunities that Black people aimed to achieve as the appropriate matters upon which to focus.
July 19, 1952: Letter to Coretta Scott
A quote from a letter that King wrote to Coretta Scott, then a woman he had begun dating a few months prior. This letter shows King as a young man in love. The piece, however, moves beyond the poetic language that describes King's romantic feelings for Scott. Here, he shares his mind, how he thinks on topics such as the utopian novel Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, and how he intended to approach his role as a preacher.
December 5, 1955: The Montgomery Bus Boycott
King delivered The Montgomery Bus Boycott speech, one of his earlier major addresses, to a crowd of approximately 5,000 people, four days after the arrest of Rosa Parks. Here, he urges his audience to commit to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which would ultimately last over a year, ending when the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on public busses is unconstitutional.
September 1958: Advice for Living Column in Ebony Magazine
From September 1957 until December 1958, King wrote a monthly advice column for Ebony Magazine. In Advice for Living, he responded to a variety of reader questions ranging from the personal to the political. This quote is excerpted from his response to this reader question: “Last Sunday my preacher did something that disturbed me. He mixed a lot of worldly things in his sermon. My question is this: Should God and the NAACP be mixed in the pulpit?”
March 22, 1959: Palm Sunday Sermon on Mohandas K. Gandhi
For much of the month and a half preceding this sermon, King had been traveling, spending much of that time in India. This sermon, delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, moves through space and time and ties Gandhi’s story to King’s own faith tradition while also underlining the argument for nonviolence.”
April 16, 1963: Letter from a Birmingham Jail
In Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King addresses criticism, point-by-point, that he received from local religious leaders about the tactics that King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Birmingham’s local civil rights movement used, putting pressure on Birmingham merchants during a busy shopping season, in order to move toward desegregation.
June 23, 1963: Speech at the Detroit Walk to Freedom
This quote comes from a speech that King Delivered at the Great March on Detroit. The speech would later be described as a precursor to his “I Have a Dream” speech.
December 10, 1964: Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. takes the opportunity to argue that “nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time—the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression."
March 12, 1966: Address to the Chicago Freedom Festival
The Chicago Freedom Movement, supported by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Chicago-based Coordinating Council of Community Organizations sought, a variety of civil rights gains in Chicago. King delivered a speech at the Chicago Freedom Festival, a concert that raised over $100,000 to support the movement, to an interracial crowd of around 12,000. In the speech, he focused on issues impacting Chicago sums and encouraged the audience to participate in nonviolent protest in the spring."
In this address, King makes a connection between the beginning of his pastorate and his speaking out against the Vietnam War. In addition to stating five actions he believed that the United States government should undertake to begin to disengage from the war, he lists “seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of [his] moral vision.”
April 3, 1968: I’ve Been to the Mountaintop
In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final speech, he discusses the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike. In support of the sanitation workers, he urges the audience to participate in nonviolent direct action as well as use their buying power strategically by supporting Black businesses and businesses that had fair practices. Famously, he ponders his own mortality in this speech given the day before he was assassinated.