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To pause in remembrance of a great American on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in America:

“At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement,” quoting the Nobel Prize website.

“At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986 and is called Martin Luther King Day. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King’s birthday [January 15, 1929]. In January 17, 2000, for the first time, Martin Luther King Day was officially observed in all 50 U.S. states. This is one of three federal holidays dedicated to an individual American and the only one dedicated to an African American,” quoting Wikipedia.

“This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as U.S. deaths in Iraq exceed 3,000 and Iraqi casualties climb into the hundreds of thousands, we need to remember King’s words of wisdom about the perils of war. King was not only an advocate of desegregation and civil rights but also an internationalist, who in 1967 took a principled but controversial stand against the escalating war in Vietnam…In April 1967, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient delivered an eloquent antiwar speech at Riverside Church in New York. It was one of his most powerful orations.

“I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government,” he said.

King advocated nonviolence not only for the poor, oppressed and subjugated black people of the South, but also for the presidents, the power brokers and profiteers. In King’s view, it is self-serving and duplicitous to tell protesters and people without much power to be calm, dignified and nonaggressive, but at the same time allow governments to perpetuate even greater violence against innocent civilians for the sake of economic and political interests.

In January 2007, it’s crucial to understand King’s message about the dangers of war and imperialism,” quoting
“Barbara Ransby [who] is an associate professor in the Department of African American Studies and History at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org,” in The Olympian.

Posted by Steve on January 15, 2007 at 5:47 am | Permalink

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