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Entries in Martin Luther King Jr. (8)

Thursday
Sep062012

David Copperfield to Donate Rare MLK Recording to Civil Rights Museum

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- Famed illusionist David Copperfield has purchased a recently discovered recording of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., announcing that he intends to donate the recording to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.

“Audio tapes of Dr. King are extremely rare,” according to collector Keya Morgan, who valued the tape at more than $100,000.

“For every 100 letters of his that are signed, you find maybe one original audio tape,” Morgan added. “It’s very rare. Audio tapes come up once every 20-30 years.”

Copperfield purchased the recording after hearing about it from Morgan, he told ABC News.

“I didn’t want it to be hoarded away,” he said, “but [instead wanted it to be] shared with people.”

“I’m always interested in historical items,” he added, “especially things that are magic-related, things that inspire me, especially.”

“My business is making people dream,” Copperfield said. “Dr. King made people dream of something vastly more important than anything an entertainer has ever done. … Dr. King’s form of dreaming and hope and thinking of things differently is extremely important with all the war and the hate in the world.”

The recording originally belonged to Stephon Tull, who found the reel, labeled “Dr. King interview, Dec. 21, 1960,” when he was cleaning out his father’s attic.

 On the tape, King discusses his view of the civil rights movement.

“I think the movement represents struggle on the highest level, dignity and discipline,” he said. “The thing that has impressed about the movement is the fact that they have followed means that grow out of the highest tradition of non-violence and peaceful message.”

King also spoke about his trip to Africa and the long-term historical importance of the civil rights movement.

“I’m convinced that in the history books written in future years, historians will have to record this movement as one of the greatest epics of our heritage,” he said.

Barbara Andrews, director of education and interpretation at the National Civil Rights Museum, told ABC News in a statement: “The donation of this recording to the museum offers the opportunity to hear from this civil rights giant one more time -- almost as though we are able to connect with him in the present again.  At the time of this recording, the world and the movement were at a crossroads: the teeming war in Vietnam helped to shape the evolving foci of Dr. King’s work.  On the one hand his attention was turned to the matter of economic justice and eradicating poverty while simultaneously pressing to move America’s moral compass toward human rights and away from the war effort on the other."

“This interview serves to humanize Dr. King and allows us to share in the concern and passion of that moment in a way that no written text could do,” the statement continued. “We are extremely grateful to … the Tulls, Dr. Winbush and Mr. Copperfield for choosing posterity over prosperity.”

But for Copperfield, the decision to donate it was obvious.

“Symbolically, it means something more important when people see it somewhere,” he told ABC News. “With magic, I can’t show what I have to the public in a mass. This is the exact opposite. You want people to see the root of what it is. … That’s where it belongs.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May172012

MLK Black Face Causes Stir At School

KRDO/ABC News(DENVER) -- A second grader was removed from school by his parents after the principal objected to him showing up in black face to do a presentation on the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Sean King had a vision for his project, part of “Wax Museum Day” at Meridian Ranch Elementary School in Peyton, Colo., said his mother Michelle King-Roca.

“He said, ‘Mom, I want to wear a black suit because that’s what he wore, a black tie, a white shirt and also I want to do my face black and wear a mustache,” she told ABC affiliate KRDO.

As parents and their pint-sized historical figures waited to file into a classroom on Wednesday, the principal asked King-Roca to remove her son’s make-up, she said.

Instead, she ignored the request and waited for Sean’s presentation.

King-Roca said she was then called to the principal’s office where she, her husband and Sean had a discussion with three school officials. Unsatisfied with the situation, King-Roca pulled her son out of school for the day.

School officials could not be reached for comment, but blackface has historically been used by minstrel shows and burlesque for offensive caricatures of black people.

School officials told KRDO the principal was just doing her job.

“When other students are offended by something, it is the principal’s role that the educational environment is safe for all students,” said school spokesperson Stephanie Meredith.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan172012

Obama Honors King with Call to Public Service

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama honored the life and work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday by issuing a call for public service, saying there is, “no better way to celebrate Dr. King than to do something on behalf of others.”

“At a time when the country has been going through some difficult economic times, for us to be able to come together as a community, people from all different walks of life, and make sure that we’re giving back, that’s ultimately what makes us the strongest, most extraordinary country on Earth, is because we pull together when times are good, but also when times are hard,” Obama told volunteers at the Browne Education Center in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he participated in a service project with his wife and daughter, Malia.

The president also reflected on King’s own words about public service and acknowledged the controversy surrounding a quote inscribed on the new MLK memorial on the National Mall, which is being changed after critics claimed King’s words were misrepresented.

“What he really said was that all of us can be a drum major for service, all of us can be a drum major for justice.  There’s nobody who can’t serve.  Nobody who can’t help somebody else,” the president said.

The paraphrased inscription reads: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”  The original quote, taken from a sermon delivered two months before King was assassinated in 1968, was far more modest. The quote is being changed, as critics claimed so abridging Dr. King's quote made it sound -- falsely -- like he was boasting.

“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice.  Say that I was a drum major for peace.  I was a drum major for righteousness.  And all of the other shallow things will not matter,” King said.

After greeting other volunteers, the Obamas helped assemble a reading nook for pre-school students in the school library.  The president and first lady later painted two quotes from King on the walls surrounding the reading corner.

Standing on a stepladder with blue paint in hand, the president filled in the words, “The time is always right to do what is right,” while Mrs. Obama painted “I have a dream” on the adjacent wall.

Monday marked the third year in a row that the first family has participated in a service project to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug312011

Maya Angelou Upset over MLK Memorial Inscription

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Poet Maya Angelou says the inscription on the newly unveiled Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial makes the civil rights leader look like an “arrogant twit.”

The official dedication to the memorial was postponed due to Hurricane Irene, but the monument on the National Mall is open to visitors.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Angelou took aim at the inscription, which reads “I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness.”  The inscription paraphrases King’s famous comments delivered at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1968.

In February 1968, two months before he was killed, King said, “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice, say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.  And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

Angelou told the Washington Post Tuesday that the omission of “if” in the inscription changes the meaning of King’s words.

“The quote makes Dr. Martin Luther King look like an arrogant twit,” Angelou told the Washington Post.  “He was anything but that. He was far too profound a man for that four-letter word to apply.”

Angelou is a member of the memorial’s “Dream Team,” a group of celebrities who donated their resources and time to the memorial’s construction. She was also a personal friend of Dr. King.

“He had a humility that comes from deep inside. The ‘if’ clause that is left out is salient. Leaving it out changes the meaning completely,” she told the paper.

Angelou, 83, went on to say that the inscription “minimizes the man.” It is one of 14 quotes carved on the monument.

Emails to the King Center seeking comment about the memorial’s inscription were not returned.

The 30-foot-tall monument’s inspiration came from a line in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which he delivered 48 years ago on the National Mall during the March on Washington: “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

Visitors can walk to the main memorial through the “Mountain of Despair,” a large rock cut in two. At the center of the memorial stands the “Stone of Hope,” with a statue of King on the far side, overlooking the Tidal Basin. Encircling the monument are marble walls on which 14 of King’s most famous quotes from his speeches, sermons and writings are etched.

But missing from the quotes lining the memorial is his iconic “I Have a Dream” line. The architects say they chose to not include the line since so much of the memorial was already based on the speech, and they wanted to highlight his other celebrated passages.

The memorial was 15 years in the making, beginning with a resolution signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton to establish a memorial “honoring the life, the dream and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” on the National Mall.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug242011

Hurricane Irene Threatens MLK Memorial Dedication Ceremony

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Celebrations scheduled for Sunday to mark the opening of Martin Luther King, Jr's memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. are being threatened by Hurricane Irene, as it moves towards the Eastern seaboard.

Officials watching the storm now say it could threaten to postpone or delay the dedication ceremony.  The storm, currently a Category 2, could reach landfall in the U.S. by the end of the week.

But the skies were still blue over Washington Tuesday as visitors streamed into the Martin Luther King Memorial as it opened to the public for the first time ahead of Sunday's dedication ceremony.

Nearly 50 years after his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall, MLK Jr's memorial in Washington is joining some of America's most influential figures carved in stone there -- Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Inspiration for the design came from a line in King's speech, which he delivered during the March on Washington: "Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope."

"King becomes the stone of hope, so it's designed to be that he himself, the man, the image of King emerges from that stone that comes from the mountain of despair," said Thomas Luebke, secretary of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a federal design review agency.

Visitors can walk to the main memorial through the "Mountain of Despair," a large rock cut in two.  At the center of the memorial stands the "Stone of Hope," with a statue of King on the far side, overlooking the Tidal Basin.  Encircling the monument are marble walls on which 14 of King's most famous quotes from his speeches, sermons and writings are etched.

But missing from the quotes lining the memorial is his iconic "I Have a Dream" line.  The architects say they chose to not include the line since so much of the memorial was already based on the speech, and they wanted to highlight his other celebrated passages.

The memorial was 15 years in the making, beginning with a resolution signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton to establish a memorial "honoring the life, the dream and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." on the National Mall.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the memorial took place on Nov. 13, 2006, and the dedication is scheduled for Sunday, the 48th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech, which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug222011

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Opens to Public

PRNewsFoto/MLK, Jr. Nat'l Memorial Project, Gediyon Kifle(WASHINGTON) -- In the early morning hours Monday, media from across the nation gathered for a first look at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.

National Park Service and memorial organizers welcomed the media to tour the space -- some of the first unfettered access to the memorial before it is accessible to the public Monday afternoon.

Upon entrance, visitors will approach the 'Mountain of Despair,' a large rock cut in two, through which they can walk to the main memorial. As the memorial opens in front of you, the 'Stone of Hope' stands at its center -- with a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on its far side, overlooking Washington, D.C.'s Tidal Basin.  Encircling the monument are marble walls on which 14 of King’s most famous quotes from his speeches, sermons, and writings are etched.

The nation's capital will be celebrating Dr. King, his legacy and leadership in the Civil Rights movement, and the new memorial all week. The memorial organization hosts luncheons on Wednesday and Thursday to honor Civil Rights pioneers as well as the Women Leaders of the Civil Rights movement.  Thursday evening brings “The Message in the Music,” a concert honoring the music of the Civil Rights Era.  Saturday evening is the Dream Gala, followed by the official Memorial dedication Sunday afternoon.  President Obama, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Dr. King’s family, and other key figures from the Civil Rights Era are all slated to speak at the dedication ceremony Sunday.

The memorial has been a 15-year endeavor -- beginning with a resolution signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton to establish a memorial “honoring the life, the dream and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” on the National Mall.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the memorial took place on Nov. 13, 2006.  This Sunday’s dedication marks the 48th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr042011

Union Workers to March on Anniversary of MLK's Death

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- Union workers across the country will take to the streets Monday, marching for their rights and to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination.

King, a prominent civil rights activist, was killed on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was showing support for striking sanitation workers who were demanding higher wages and better treatment.

We Are One, a non-profit organization, has been behind the marches, calling the nationwide event "A Day of Solidarity."

"Join us to make April 4, 2011, and the days surrounding it, a day to stand in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin and dozens of other states where corporate-bought politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for," the organization says on its website.

Several rallies are planned in Wisconsin alone, where Gov. Scott Walker has championed a law to strip state and local workers of their collective bargaining rights.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan172011

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Personifies Hope, Equality

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto/MLK, Jr. Nat'l Memorial Project, Gediyon Kifle(WASHINGTON) -- As America celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.'s 82nd birthday Monday, the finishing touches are being put on a memorial to commemorate the man of dreams in Washington, D.C. near where he delivered his most famous speech.

The tribute to Dr. King changes the face of the National Mall. The MLK Memorial is in a direct line between the Lincoln Memorial, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, and the Jefferson Memorial.

After 25 years of fundraising, planning and organizing, the site is finally nearing completion. Two giant towers of granite representing the "Mountain of Despair" and the "Stone of Hope" stand along the banks of D.C.'s Tidal Basin. Etched in the "Inscription Wall" along the perimeter of the monument are over a dozen quotes from some of King's most memorable speeches.

The public unveiling is scheduled for Aug. 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

With a $120 million price tag, fundraising has been the largest barrier to completion of the memorial, said Dina Curtis, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project. The project still needs to raise $12 million to meet their goal, she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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