Monday, January 20, 2014

A Day of Community Service

Today is a Federal holiday that honors Dr. King who was known as the civil rights leader that guided the  nation to a peaceful protest of the racial injustice that was prevalent across the nation. 

When we think of Martin Luther King Jr., we often think of him as a man with a vision, a dream and dedication to the service others. For most of us, King's dream comes vividly to life in the words of his most famous speech:

'Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

link to hear complete speech

Ronald Reagan signed this holiday into law in 1983. But it was not officially observed in all 50 states until 2000. In 1994 to further commemorate a man who lived his life in service to others Congress transformed the holiday into a national day of community service. Check your local listings to see what events are available in your area. 

Poetry holds a special place within the African-American culture. It continues to  help keep history and traditions alive. Martin Luther King wasn't the only black man with a dream. Langston Hughes expressed his dreams for black people through his poetry. He is considered by many to be the dean of African-American writers. 
I thought both of these poems by Hughes fitting as we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

The Dream Keeper
by Langston Hughes

Bring me all your dreams,
You dreamers,
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue-cloud cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.

My People
by Langston Hughes

The night is beautiful.
So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful.
So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.   

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