I spent the day at an annual celebration in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. I decided, rather than the 7 pages of the reading, to dedicate today's post to him and to all the people that stood with him insisting upon the evolution of our society to one that reflects, in our actions, the humanity that we, in our speeches and our documents, declare as our guiding force. Thankfully, the host of the celebration, D.L. Richardson, reminded us of the importance of remembering that it is never just one person that creates change...that there were many invaluable participants and leaders in the Civil Rights movement. He introduced us to a great civil rights leader, rarely heard of, who was, he said, "barely 5 foot tall," but whose presence felt far above 10 feet. This man was Alabama civil rights leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. Richardson told us the story of Shuttlesworth being in the hospital from a water hose wound inflicted when the police said out loud "let's get the Reverend" and proceeded to aim at him, throwing him face first against a stone wall. While he was in the hospital, he heard that President John Kennedy had made a call to put an end to the 1963 Birmingham marches where he had been injured. He got up from his hospital bed and took himself to the "headquarters" to speak with the officials and said, "This is a fire that cannot be put out."

To honor Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and all that is done in the name of what they stood for, I have included a video about MLK's rarely heard of efforts to educate around and eliminate poverty. And I leave you with the words of Tecumseh which were chosen and read by Delanna Studi this afternoon at the MLK day celebration at the Armory in Ashland, Oregon:

Words from Chief Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee (March 1768 – October 5, 1813):

"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.

Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and

Demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life,

Beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and 
Its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,

Even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and

Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and

For the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks,

The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing,

For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts

Are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes

They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again

In a different way.
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."

This is a video clip of Martin Luther King Jr. in the final months of his life during which he began his Poor People’s Campaign, “We believe the highest patriotism demands the ending of the war and the opening of a bloodless war to final victory over racism and poverty”
1/7/2013 12:30:44

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