Inside the Music

Inside the Music is a blog about jazz from an insider; a working musician.  It explores the lessons of life found Inside the Music.


As a younger man I was enamored with the writings of Dr. King.  I read as much as I could find from his pen. On MLKDay I annually return to one of his writings as a reminder of the awesomeness of the man, the awesomeness of the deep change in this country accomplished thru the civil rights movement, and the awesome power of love to overcome hate Dr King received from Mahatma Gandhi (don’t forget that not only did Dr. King study Gandhi, but he spent 5 weeks in India in 1959 and referred to Gandhi as ‘‘the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change’’).

This year I decided to see what video I could find of Dr. King online. (I’m calling it ‘keeping up with technology’ but there’s definitely a pinch of laziness in there too!) I was very happy to see the volume of King speeches and addresses available on YouTube alone. I’m happy about what this means for access to one of the greatest leader in history.  I would encourage you to take a few minutes today to review some of Dr. King’s comments.  They present a direct lens into our history of struggle which provides context for many of the injustices we see today. This is particularly important for our Millennials who may be drawing conclusions based on their experience with just the tip of the iceberg of history.

Two reminders for me on MLKDay2016. The first is just how optimistic he was. This man just knew that change would come.  He continued to espouse this outcome when his house was bombed, from in jail, despite burning of churches and African Americans throughout the country. To me, this is just another proof that the source of his conviction had to be divine. However, the second reminder is uniquely rendered by watching video.  You know, before he was a civil rights leader he was a scholar and a preacher. This is no ‘talking head’ in front of a teleprompter.  This man could speak! View his eloquence delivering fully developed ideas with minimal notes.  Check his electric elocution which could even the infirmed to their feet. There’s courage not only in his words, but in his delivery as well.  This is courage from a man whose life was in jeopardy every day.

Never disrespectful. Always hopeful.  On MLKDay2016, this is how I recall one of our greatest Americans.

Happy King Day!