Daily Dirt: ‘The time is always right to do what is right’

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Martin Luther King, Jr. at a press conference. | World Telegram & Sun photo by Walter Albertin

Daily Dirt for Jan. 16, 2022

Monday is Martin Luther King Day, and this little corner of the world offers its own tribute in today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 185 of the Daily Dirt.

1. A look at some of the more lasting, memorable quotes connected to Martin Luther King Jr.:

  • “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”
  • “The time is always right to do what is right.”
  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
  • “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
  • “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
  • “Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

2. Some interesting — and often unknown — facts about Martin Luther King Jr.

  • MLK’s given name was actually Michael. He was named after his father, the Rev. Michael King Sr. The elder King traveled to Germany when his son was young and was inspired by Protestant reformer Martin Luther. The elder King later changed both his own first name name and the name of his then 5-year-old son.
  • Though not a singer, MLK earned a posthumous Grammy Award. In 1971, Dr. King was awarded Best Spoken Word album for “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.”
  • King was a huge “Star Trek” fan. He convinced actress Nichelle Nichols, who played the role of “Uhura” on the show, to continue working with the series. Nichols was considering leaving, but King told her she was breaking boundaries by playing a character who didn’t conform to black stereotypes.
  • While King is remembered as an enthralling public speaker, he actually scored poorly in public speaking during his first year at seminary. He received a “C” in the class but earned straight “A’s” by his final year.
  • King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on Sept. 20, 1958. On that day, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” when he was approached by a woman who stabbed him with a letter opener. He barely survived.
  • President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into effect in 1983 that made Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday. 

3. In my opinion, the three most memorable songs tied to Martin Luther King:

  • Gold medal: “Abraham, Martin and John,” Dion (1968). This moving song was subsequently covered by dozens of artists, including Smokey RobinsonRay Charles, Emmylou Harris and even “Star Trek’s” Leonard Nimoy. Arguably the finest version is Marvin Gaye’s 1970 single, which was a Top 10 hit in the UK. A year later, jazz star Oliver Nelson dedicated a whole album, “Black, Brown And Beautiful,” to King, according to udiscovermusic.com
  • Silver medal: “Dry Your Eyes,” Neil Diamond (1976).
  • Bronze medal: “Pride in the Name Of Love,” U2 (1984).

Steve Fact O’ The Day
Steve notes that it is ironic that April 4, 1958 was the day the peace symbol was first introduced. Designed by Gerald Holtom, the peace sign made its first appearance on signage during a protest staged by the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968.

One of the least remembered quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. during one of his speeches reportedly was, “Hey, is that Stevie Dirt in the crowd?”

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