In full remembrance

It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year the Monday on which we celebrate King's birthday is his actual birthday. He would have been 95 years old today. He died in 1968.

His birthday has been a national holiday since Congress declared it so in 1983, under Reagan. The first state to make it a holiday was Illinois, in 1973. Oregon jumped on the bandwagon in 1985. South Carolina held out until 2000. In Alabama and Mississippi, God help them, they insist on celebrating Robert E. Lee on the same day. Stevie Wonder wrote a song about the controversy in 1980. There are still people who would get rid of the holiday if they could.

MLK was not a saint in his personal life. He was human, like the rest of us. But he stood for important ideals, and he willingly gave his life for them. He kept pointing out what the Declaration of Independence said – one of the main reasons given for this even being a country: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." All he was asking was for those words to mean what they said. He called the Founding Fathers' bluff.

King wielded a lot of power, so much that he scared a lot of white people. He was the face of Black liberation as race riots erupted in all the big cities. Obviously, the Klansmen types hated him, but so did guys like J. Edgar Hoover. King was right, and they were wrong, and it had become so obvious to most of us that they assassinated him.

I have never known what to do on this holiday. Mostly I just catch my breath from Christmas and New Year's. Get a little work done, usually. But lately I do stop for a minute and think one thought in King's honor: Don't hate.  That's easier said than done, of course, and it seems more difficult with each passing year.


  1. And John Lewis right beside him!

  2. We need more "catch my breath" holidays on the calendar. Create any excuse you want, but we need about six more holidays where we all get a freaking day off and don't need to take PTO. As it stands, outside of the seldom observed President's Day next month, we've got no holidays from now until Memorial Day. How awful.

    About two decades ago, I started taking the Friday and Monday of Super Bowl weekend. Originally is was so I could prepare for and recover from The Big Game. But now, it's an excuse to disappear somewhere for a few days. This year I get to observe it by taking the paterfamilias in for some medical procedure. Good times. Anyway, on the off-chance we re-elect Joe Brandon in November, we need to push for a few more days off. We deserve them.

  3. I have a feeling MLK's holiday will be quietly replaced on the calendar once David Garrow's new book comes out in 2028. In 2018 Garrow did an exclusive research project into recently released FBI documents about MLK, and what he found is detailed here: - there's tape recordings of King laughing at a woman in his parish as she's being raped. This is why the FBI went all manic and sent him a letter suggesting he kill himself, the agents investigating him knew the full extent of his sexual crimes and that he was a hypocrite for everything he was preaching.

    Imagine if we had roads and holidays named after Harvey Weinstein.

    There will be a civic apostasy on MLK in the next 10 years.


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