Sunday, January 14, 2007

Before Tomorrow

Posted by olvlzl.
Since the struggle for equal education has played such a big part in the modern Civil Rights movement it has always seemed ironic that schools are closed on Martin Luther King Day. Wouldn’t it be better to have them open and to celebrate equality and freedom and the lives of those committed to the struggle?

Another thing, put aside the March on Washington speech for a few years. It is a perfectly good speech but it wasn’t the only one he ever gave. His last speech, the Mountain Top speech, was one of the most astonishing pieces of music of the past century, if only John Coltrane had used the inflections of that one in a piece. The Massey Lectures are others that should be better known, his entire line of speeches against the Vietnam War have been effectively suppressed.

And while we’re at it, more should be said about King’s astonishing act of hiring Bayard Rustin, one of the few out-of-the-closet gay men of the pre-stonewall period. It is hard to imagine how controversial hiring him to organize the enormously important March on Washington was in the macho Kennedy era. Hiring a radical, gay man who had been jailed, both for draft resistance during WWII and on morals charges, hired BY AN ORDAINED BAPTIST MINISTER, no less, was an act of public courage that is hard to imagine today. You wonder why that fact isn’t brought up whenever conservatives try to use Martin Luther King against efforts for gay rights. Sadly, some of them are members of King’s own family.