Archive for January 15th, 2011

King………or Queen…….or Twin?

Jan. 15th 2011

I awake to news radio.

This morning,  a new radio commercial helps wake me from slumber.  It was a  radio advertisement for a ski resort in Maine inviting skiers and snowboarders to spend Martin Luther King Day on the slopes! 

Say what?

Ski ………………..on the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday?

 Have we negated the fact it took massive lobbying  efforts to have state governments and the federal government pass legislation to make Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday?

One must remember Dr. King had an FBI file thick as a phone book, was arrested more than once for his civil disobedient acts, spoke and preached  under the fear of constant threats, was called names, made the world aware that America was a segregated nation, marched, stood up–and sat down when sitting was called for.

Have we  forgotten the message of Dr. King’s “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail?

Is Reverend King’s police mug shots from  his arrests in the South not indelibly etched in our nation’s collective memory?

Later I  bring the newspaper into the house from being tossed into a snowbank.  I read the wet newspaper and  sip coffee. 

Say what?  

A  Martin Luther King Day mattress sale?


I begin to think. (I think a lot.)

Water cannons.

German shepherd police dogs unleashed on unarmed protesters.

Crossing the bridge at Selma.

Tear gas and night sticks.

A drinking fountain for whites. A drinking fountain people of color.

 Freedom Summer. Buses torched. The smell of violence in the air. 

SING!  We Shall Overcome.      Ain’ t Nobody Gonna Turn Me ’round.

“The only chain that a man can stand …is the chain of hand in hand. Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on….. keep your eye on the prize, hold on.”

No service at Woolworth lunch counters. Scalding hot coffee poured on sit-in  protesters. The contents of sugar bowls dumped into protester’s hair.

 Humiliation. Racial slurs.  Back of the bus.

Scrubbing toilets. Pushing tight interior metal mesh doors of public elevators. Washing floors on tired knees. Lifting luggage onto trains.

Expected to say….”Yes, madam. Yes, sir…………… then be called “boy” in return.

 Literacy tests.

Poll taxes.

“Oh, we have no jobs for your kind………..”

“The apartment was JUST rented!”

 “I’ve been to the mountain top!”

“Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last……”

I stand quoted. Dr. King’s dream is NOT to be reduced to a good night’s sleep.  What he did to move us forward as a nation was  NOT for a ride up a ski gondola or to sleep in a state of complacency.  

I’m tempted to attend the matress sale just to watch the sales clerk, on commission, become excited when I order twelve expensive mattresses.

As my credit card is about to scan…………… I call OFF the sale.


What? No matching pillow cases?  No bed skirts? No coverlets?  Why is this store open? Is today not a national holiday? >>>>>>>>>>>>>I  ask too many hard questions for 12 soft beds.

I hold up the line. I begin reading aloud some of the most eloquent words penned in American history. Read Reverend Kings  early sermons as a young preacher when he was supporting a  young family. Research and read his later political writings and speeches.

Inspiring work. 

Dr. King did note write in soundbites. His word are crisp and filled with energy and action. Dr. King had a vision of an  America he could see the distance–yet his vision was not being experienced by ALL Americans.

Quote me. “America is a work in progress. We are still a comparatively young nation. We have come far. Dr. King would be proud, yet his work and vision is still  unfinished and not yet complete. ” BBF

Monday, I plan to  honor the memory of Dr. King’s life and legacy.

Shop if you so choose. Work on your winter tan on the ski slope. The choice is yours. 

 I cannot let this day pass without writing about the radio commercial I awoke to and the print advertisement I read this morning.

Let’s continue to work towards Dr. King’s vision of America; an America rooted in equality, hope, opportunity, discrimination-free, and all the “‘isms” that cast a negative light on our brilliant nation are eradicated.

Thank you Stevie Wonder for penning a song that gets me up dancing and feeling ebullient when I listen to it. “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to You. Happy birthday. Happy birthday to you, Martin Luther King.”

Brendan Ben Feeney

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