19 January 2009

I may not get there with you...

I've been honoring the DREAM of Martin Luther King with Barack Obama's Essay and images of Coretta Scott King. When I was growing up in Oakland, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday was a huge deal, every school would have an oratory contests with kids reading poems, singing songs and performing original raps and the finalists would go to the city wide competition at the Henry J. Kaiser Center. I remember getting some sort of honorable mention once that included a gift certificate for free fries at McDonalds. Apparently this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Oakland Unifed School District's Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Fest.
I remember being broken-hearted when I found out the King had been a womanizer and cheated on Coretta. Years later I finally come to agree with Michael Eric Dyson's point in I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. about the importance of recognizing King as a man and not an angel and that in not deifying him it helps us to realize that genius is flawed and contradictory and we too have the potential for greatness. Yet conversely, when it comes to Coretta Scott King, I can't help but put her on a golden pedestal.

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