Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Birthday (Stevie Wonder)

Press play to watch and listen:

Steve Wonder wrote this song as part of the campaign to establish a national holiday in honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And today is the 2008 date of that holiday. Watching some tributes, clips of Dr. King's speeches, and thinking about what he and others made possible, I got to thinking - "could there really have been anyone who was AGAINST the idea of a holiday in his honor?" Of course, lots of folks.

They said it would "cost us money." They didn't like the idea of singling out one man for a movement (can you say Ghandi?), and it would be crazy to believe that the fact that he was a BLACK man didn't have the greatest weight for the detractors.

Today the Seattle Times re-ran a story they originally ran in 1983, a year before the first MLK Jr. Holiday. It is most definitely worth the read...some great history and facts, but also a view into the times.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King.


Elizabeth said...

Very cool, DC, thanks for sharing. I've always taken MLK day for granted -- feeling that it should be spent in service, but taking for granted the fact that it "was". Never knew how very special, unique, that is.

Tony S said...

When this was released in 1980 on the "Hotter Than July" LP, I remember it being perceived as radical (I was in tenth grade, so sue me if I perceived this wrong). Now it comes off as prescient.

While we're in a political mood, allow me to post yet another link to a Laura Nyro video, "Save the Country," composed in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King.

Here is Laura doing it live:

I urge anyone out there who enjoys female-identified music -- or just plain brilliant songwriting -- to check out the late Laura Nyro.

Donna said...

Eli & Tony - thanks for the comments!