My Two Cents is a weekly opinion column from Bethesda resident Joseph Hawkins. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BethesdaNow.com.
The U.S. Congress established the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday in 1983, and in 1986, we celebrated the first holiday, which by law occurs on the third Monday of January. King’s birthday is Jan. 15.
There are lots of ways to celebrate the King holiday. In recent times, taking the day off and participating in some kind of community service activity or event has taken hold. Without a lot of searching, one can find close-to-home Bethesda service activities or one can visit this county government website for a fairly long list of suggested service activities.
So, if you have time this weekend or have today off, do something to honor King’s memory.
If you’re not the type to volunteer, I would like offer another suggested way to “think” about King.
Take some time today to listen to a few King speeches. A fair number of are available online. One favorite online resource of mine is The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.
And there is a world of King speeches to explore beyond the iconic Dream speech delivered in 1964 at the March on Washington. Here are a few favorites, especially the Levels of Love speech, which clearly helps us understand King’s commitment to non-violence. All can be found through Stanford’s database:
March 25, 1965: Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March
December 10, 1964: Acceptance Speech at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony
June 23, 1963: Speech at the Great March on Detroit
September 16, 1962: Levels of Love, Sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church
And for what it’s worth, I think every home should have a copy of the book, “A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.”
I’ll frequently pick up my copy of the book, flip it open to any entry, read, and be amazed at King’s mind. He truly was a genius, and I’m still in awe of that genius. Happy birthday Dr. King.
Flickr photo via Minnesota Historial Society
Joseph Hawkins is a longtime Bethesda resident who remembers when there was no Capital Crescent Trail. He works full-time for an employee-owned social science research firm located Montgomery County. He is a D.C. native and for nearly 10 years, he wrote a regular column for the Montgomery Journal. He also has essays and editorials published in Education Week, the Washington Post, and Teaching Tolerance Magazine. He is a serious live music fan and is committed to checking out some live act at least once a month.