Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

This is the day for one of the largest events of the year downtown. Probably up there with those summer festivals.

It’s the big Martin Luther King Day march and rally.

I was at one back in 2005 or 2006. It was pretty large:

The idea behind this is that people would march from the four corners of the city, east, west, north, and south, and come together at Dayton’s zero milestone, 3rd and Main, as symbolic of community unity.
Unfortunately there isn’t many coming from the east and south, but the symbolism here is still neat.
After the marches coalesce, there is speechifying from the steps of the old Court House, Dayton’s traditional spot for political oratory.

One of my favorite Dayton-based bloggers, where I just lurk and read, is “Brother Omi”. He’s linked in that blogroll sidebar. He has a post on MLK Day, and I particularly like this passage, which reminds us that Dr. King was broadening his agenda in the years before he as shot:

“…Unfortunately for everyone, MLK's holiday is an opportunity to miseducate generations of children. We are giving images of the March on Washington and people attempt to mimic MLK's historical speech. Then we fast forward to his assassination five years later. No one seems to inquire about that five year gap when MLK's approach to his ideology, his spiritual evolution, and his political stance changed dramatically.

MLK was one of the first Civil Rights leaders to speak out against the Vietnam war. Ironically, no politician brings that up. He was the first Civil Rights leader to speak about the dangers of corporations and claimed that it was Wall Street who was our enemy. MLK was pro-union and for the upliftment of all poor communities in this country. The same politicians who evoke his name are brought and paid for by corporations, are anti-union, and don't even speak about the poor….”

Surf in to his blog and read his last thoughts about this day as one for education and reflection rather than for going to rallies and listening to speeches.

Though I think one can do both.

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