Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
By Rubie Britt-Height, director of community relations at The Mint Museum
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1963) was a major American icon whose life, though cut short far too soon, profoundly impacted the state of our country in the 1950s, 1960s, and today. He was an American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday that marks the birth of this profoundly courageous leader who addressed the challenges existing in the United States relative to poverty, racism, and war.
The Mint observes the official Martin Luther King Jr. holiday throughout the month of January with goals ongoing throughout the year to invoke dialogue and transformative programming, exhibitions, and equity for diverse artists, vendors, and staff. The museum is committed to its mission, vision, and strategic plan, of which diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are a part.
Throughout 2022, the Mint will provide members and guests opportunities to view and have dialogue about meaningful works of art, attend performing arts programming, read historical nuggets about artists of color, and recount through socially conscious works of art the ongoing challenges identified by Dr. King’s speeches, writings, and sermons that continue to illuminate “the dream still deferred” in many ways.
Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech spoke metaphorically and strategically to an environment that blighted African Americans, with the hope of a transformed country of equity, equality, justice, and fairness.
The Jim Crow Museum notes that “the civil rights movement reached its peak when 250,000 blacks and whites gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which included the demand for passage of meaningful civil rights laws when Dr. King, Jr. delivered his famous speech.” Among those words, throughout his ministry are many other notable quotes that raise our consciousness and speak to courage, community, and commitment to a better America for all.
Here are just a few of his thought-provoking and enlightened perspectives as one influenced by his Christian faith, Ghandi’s non-violence philosophy, and his commitment to balance the scale of humanity in America:
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but it comes through continuous struggle.”
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
We invite you view this curator video featuring Senior Curator of American art Jonathan Stuhlman, PhD, about the painting Selma by artist Barbra Pennington that focuses on the events that unfolded 55 years ago in Selma, Alabama.