We’re coming up on a three day weekend and I’m telling you, after the frenzy of the past month I’m ready for a little extra rest. As grateful as I am for the breather though, I believe that Memorial Day and Labor Day should be more than just bookends for the summer and I don’t want MLK Day to become just a rest stop after the holidays.
Perhaps the best known of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches is the one he delivered on what was surely a stifling, muggy day in Washington, D.C. in 1963. Much like a chorus singing Handel in a food court gave a gift to those around them, he delivered a gift to his country on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This speech is not the first of his writings—it may not even be considered to be his finest work by some—but for me, it best sums up not only the sacrifice and work that went into the Civil Rights movement but also the hopes I still have for us as a country. Some of it is a little painful to read, even for an adult, but I think if you track down a copy of the picture book I Have A Dream you’ll find that the best of it is easily available to a child, illustrated by 15 artists of staggering talent. If you haven’t read the entire thing, you’ll find the full text there as well.
I’m not going to make a list of the biographies, collections of his writings and the histories of the civil rights movement in the collection (the list would be long indeed) but I am going to encourage you to take a look at the catalog and pick out a few things to remind you that this isn’t just a three day weekend coming up.