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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Cleveland

2011 January 17

I’ve been out of town for the last few year’s on MLK Day, so I’m hoping to actually check out some of the free local concerts in Cleveland. There are some performances and art at House of Blues downtown and at Severance Hall.  And several museums are offering free admission and shuttle rides in honor of the birthday of the great civil rights leader and nonviolent protester.

But if you don’t have a chance to do anything else, and you want to stay warm and cozy at home (or at work), take about 18 minutes to listen to his most famous speech.

We all know its most famous line, but I sometimes forget the fact that this man was able to take American’s greatest, oldest problem and convince people, with just words, that things needed to change. It’s hard to remember how powerful what he said was until you hear it again. When we listen to this in school, I hope that my students understand that they, too, can use words to change minds, when they encounter injustice. Dr. King, our young people are still learning from you words, and it was true when someone once said your life was only the beginning of your victory.

And, if you’re looking for one more short clip of the great Dr. King, check out the last and prophetic speech he gave before his death.

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

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