Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Martin Luther King, a brilliant speaker

My novel takes place in the mid-1960s, in Detroit, just as  the civil rights era is merging into the black power era (if you can call these things eras). As part of the research I did, I borrowed the amazing Eyes on the Prize video series from my local library. This series was created by PBS to honor and educate us about the civil rights movement in the US. I did not watch all of it, but I did watch several sections that included speeches by Martin Luther King (pictured, above, with just a hint of worry on his familiar brow). As we have just celebrated another MLK Day (two days ago), I wanted to mention this.
     I am embarrassed to report that I had never before watched and listened to one of his speeches in its entirety. Of course, I've heard and read excerpts--especially the "I Have a Dream" speech. I want to say that I was stunned by what a brilliant and moving speaker he was. It struck me once again that even though I "lived" this piece of history, I was mostly oblivious to it, immersed in my youthful preoccupations. At any rate, we can all thank PBS for having the wisdom and the skill to preserve these images and speeches in such an artful way. And of course we have Martin Luther King to thank and honor for what he gave us and what he left us.


Anonymous said...

Susan, like you, I also did not pay much attention to Dr. King. Perhaps not too surprising that us young white folks were oblivious to him, considering that he was to some extent demonized by the white media. Only years later do many of us now consider him a hero. Jim Poznak

Susan Messer said...

Jim, thanks for stopping by. The man knew how to command a crowd, and how to speak from his heart.