Agitate, Educate, and Organize ~OO~
~August 28th, 1963.
I remember listening to Dr. King.
It was a live radio broadcast of his “I have a dream” speech at the March for Jobs and Freedom.
…the words of this brave young man on the radio, resounding across the crowds
that had gathered, it felt like I’d heard him tell the world my most private thoughts.
His vision was my light in August.
“The whirlwinds of revolt
will continue to shake the foundations
of our nation until the bright day of
“We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the
pledge that we shall march ahead.
We cannot turn back.”
~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
When the speech was over it felt like a burden had been lifted.
And then five years later, we heard Martin talk about dying, during a sermon he gave at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Sunday, February 4, 1968: (the words in parentheses are the congregation’s response)
And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say.
Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—
that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have
three or four hundred other awards— that’s not important.
Tell them not to mention where I went to school. (Yes)
I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr.,
tried to give his life serving others. (Yes)
I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.
I want you to be able to say that day
that I did try to feed the hungry.
And I want you to be able to say
that day that I did try in my life to
clothe those who were naked. (Yes)
I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life
to visit those who were in prison. (Lord)
I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. (Yes)
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major,
say that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen)
Say that I was a drum major for peace. (Yes)
I was a drum major for righteousness.
And all of the other shallow things will not matter. (Yes)
I won’t have any money
to leave behind.
I won’t have the fine and
luxurious things of life
to leave behind.
But I just want to leave
a committed life behind. (Amen)
And that’s all I want to say.
So, with the John Kennedy assassination behind us, on the same day when Neal Cassady died, while the Beatles released John Lennon’s
“Across the Universe…”
Martin reminded us about what counts and why it matters.
…some sources and resources:
The Beatles recorded the John Lennon penned tune
‘Across the Universe.’ Two Beatles fans were invited
in off the street to sing background harmonies on the track.
They were 16-year-old Lizzie Bravo and 17-year-old Gayleen Pease.
They were so excited. They couldn’t believe they’d actually been invited by Paul not just inside the building but into the studio itself, to sing with The Beatles.
Full text of MLK’s sermon…
The Wordsmith Collection: Writing & Creative Arts
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