As many of you are aware, Curtis has historically hosted a day of service to coincide with the celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday which takes place on the third Monday in January in the United States. This year’s MLK holiday is today, Monday, January 18th. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary distance this has imposed on our educational setting, we will not be hosting a community day of service. And yet, given the state of social society and our body politic, perhaps there has never been a more appropriate time to remember the words and work of Dr. King.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister who openly advocated nonviolent protest in the form of direct action campaigns during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s which sought to secure equal rights for Black people in the United States. He is, perhaps, most well-known for his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Dr. King was also a prolific writer and orator who denounced militarism and the Vietnam War, and organized efforts to highlight issues of poverty. In and through his work, Dr. King advocated a vision of society based on justice, equity, and love which he termed the “Beloved Community”.
On this holiday honoring the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., I would like to encourage you to read the words of Dr. King delivered on March 31, 1968 at the National Cathedral, four days before he was assassinated. The title of his address was “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution” (audio). In this speech, Dr. King discusses a number of philosophical ideas for which he has become known. These words also seem particularly apropos given the times through which we are currently living.
Senior Associate Dean and Special Advisor to the President for Strategic Engagement
Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Orchestra MLK Tribute concert:
PBS collection of videos to explore Dr. King's legacy:
WHYY audio piece, in interview with Rev. Dr. Chaz Howard of UPenn:
And its companion piece:
Short Atlantic article about King's anti-poverty work:
Short piece written by John Lewis in reflection:
MLK writings from the Black History Month Library: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bz011IF2Pu9TRUF3NHBhdnF1cE0
Short article with linked resources on MLK at BlackPast: https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/king-martin-luther-jr-1929-1968/
For more, see also the Curtis Library guide to Anti-racism and Social Justice resources: https://libguides.curtis.edu/socialjustice