A Message to Our Students on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Howard Bunsis sends the following message to his students at Eastern Michigan University to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is worth sharing with all of our students:

As you know, there are no classes Monday, due to the Martin Luther King holiday.  Given the events in our country over the last year, the celebration of Dr. King and reflecting on what he stood for is more relevant than ever. Consider the events in Ferguson and many other places, consider the numerous protests on many college campuses, and given the focus on inequality of income, it is clear that Dr. King’s legacy is very revealing on these issues.

On March 10, 1968, just weeks before his death, he spoke to a union group in New York. Dr. King said: “One America is flowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality. That America is the habitat of millions of people who have food and material necessities for their bodies, culture and education for their minds, freedom and human dignity for their spirits. . . . But as we assemble here tonight, I’m sure that each of us is painfully aware of the fact that there is another America, and that other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair.”  …  Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?” 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-mlks-call-for-economic-justice/2015/01/15/3599cb70-9cfe-11e4-96cc-e858eba91ced_story.html

As you reflect on these issues, consider that the speech that Dr. King gave the night before he was killed, on April 3rd, 1968, is known as the Mountaintop Speech.  Though his I Have a Dream Speech in Washington DC in 1963 is his most famous speech, the Mountaintop Speech is amazing for many reasons: The pure power of the words, the captivation of the audience, and the foreshadowing that he seems to be alluding to in his address.

The topic of the speech was a strike by sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, and an injunction that was being imposed against the strike.  Below are some links related to the speech.  The last few minutes of this speech are truly amazing.

 

Audio only:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixfwGLxRJU8

 

Text of speech and audio:

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm

 

Video of the last part of the speech:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-OIjLDMWec

 

I really hope you take the time to consider some of these issues on this important holiday.

 

 

One thought on “A Message to Our Students on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

  1. “But as we assemble here tonight, I’m sure that each of us is painfully aware of the fact that there is another America, and that other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair.”

    YES THERE IS.

    I am sad to report that it was not until 2011, my 49th year, that I came to understand and appreciate this ugliness. I have been treated as less than a second class citizen by a bastion alleging to be the center of the universe for equality and diversity. Instead, they turned on me and physically, mentally and emotionally abused me over four years running.

    I have been diagnosed as a victim of severe psychopathic abuse. Even though I repeatedly turned to the administration of this university for help, I was not only turned away but I was abused that much more. My lungs are damaged by wildfire smoke and particulates. I was denied medical attention and forced to crawl on my hands and knees, vomiting with food poisoning in the searing heat of the desert, working 12 hour days for this university. My independent works were egregiously plagiarized. I ended up in intensive care fighting for my very life.

    Then I uncovered a scandal of epic proportions. For four years my life was been wracked by a bevy of private investigators hounding me, my friends & my family. Four lawyers reviewed everything, telling my First and Fourteenth Amendment rights have been eviscerated. And now, I am in intensive psychotherapy for these deep and lasting wounds.

    I am an American. I have the same rights as all others, and I am in the midst of putting my freedom and liberty on the line.

    A may not overcome, but I sure as hell will not acquiesce.

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