Monday, January 17, 2005

Holiday Trivia for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

I've just been looking at a couple of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most famous speeches.  Oh man, that guy was an amazing orator, perhaps the greatest of the twentieth century.  I urge you to take a look at some of the things he said. Typing key phrases into Google will bring up lots of copies.  (But answer my trivia questions first!)

I was eleven years old when he was murdered, and even I knew I was a secondhand witness to important history, in an amazing, often horrible year. Vietnam was a big mess and getting bigger, RFK's murder was still to come, and George Wallace was running for president. 

Around the end of that summer, my Mom staged her musical and political revue They'd Rather Be Right. The most touching part of it was a slide show, featuring pictures etched on our memory:  the assassinations and funerals of JFK, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. These were accompanied by the Association song Requiem for the Masses, which probably explains why a member of that group was in the audience for one of the perfomances. 

Mom's major source of pictures for the slide show was Life Magazine.  One of the shots was of the cover about King's death, titled "The Murder in Memphis."  Mom's slide cut off the right edge of the cover, so that it said, "The Murder in Me."  When I objected to this, Mom said she liked it that way, because it would encourage people to consider their own murderous impulses.

Dr. King was a freedom fighter, seeking justice and equality, but he was more than that.  He believed in non-violent means of achieving his ends, a collaboration in which people of all colors could work together peaceably to overcome ignorance and ill-will.  It's an ethic in which the ends do not justify the means, and skin color is no excuse for hatred. 

All these years later, his words are still words to live by.  Too bad that so many of us today are too cynical, too parochial, too angry, to look from his mountaintop or share in his dream.


Holiday Trivia:

   1. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born
       a) on the third Monday in January
       b) January 15, 1929
       c) January 16, 1929
       d) January 17, 1929

   2. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, in one of his most famous speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "I have a dream that"....
       a) " 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.'"
      b) " four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
      c) " day, down in Alabama...little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."
      d) all of the above, and more.

   3. In saying that he'd "been to the mountaintop" during his last speech  (April 3, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee) before the assassination, King was saying
       a) that he had been metaphorically handed God's commandments for a new age of freedom and equality
       b) that he had reached the heights of fame and accomplishment
       c) that he had seen the metaphorical "Promised Land" of freedom and equality, and was not concerned that, like Moses, he might not reach it, because the people would.
       d) that some day all would see "the glory of the coming of the Lord."


daephene said...

Okay, I'll play this time.  I guess d,d,c.  Actually the second one I know, the third one sounds good, and the first is a complete guess.

sakishler said...

Here I go:

1. b.

2. d.

3. c?

Very good entry, by the way.

cneinhorn said...

I don't know any of these....::sigh:: must catch up with my history!