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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. 


One of the recipient families shows off the bag that can be filled with groceries from nearby Food Lion store No. 971.

The Mint supports a donor’s desire to give back

By Rubie Britt-Height, Director of Community Relations

The Mint Museum recently provided over $2,000 in gift cards and reusable Food Lion grocery bags to families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by an anonymous donor and Food Lion Stores, the cards were given to families of the students of the museum’s 16-year old Grier Heights Community Youth Arts Program, and to members in the west Charlotte community.

A generous gift of $1,500 was given by an anonymous donor to purchase 50 Food Lion cards in denominations of $35, $25, and $20 at the north Wendover Road Food Lion store near the Grier Heights community. The Mint shared the effort with Millette Granville, vice president of talent, diversity and inclusion, learning and organizational development for Food Lion, a U.S. division of Zaandam-based Royal Ahold Delhaize Group. The company quickly responded with an additional $500 in $25 gift cards, two cases of reusable tote bags to help the family recipients, and facilitation with store No. 971 to process the cards.

Each family received a tote bag, gift card, and note from the Mint Museum.

“As a child, I grew up in similar challenging yet overcoming circumstances in a Charlotte housing project. I want to give back, and see that the students and families have access to having their temporal needs met, as well as to education and memorable experiences,” wrote the anonymous donor. “You all are doing good community work at the museum and I knew you could successfully facilitate our desire to help families who are trying to hold it together.”

The donations not only helped the Grier Heights community, it supported families of the McCrorey YMCA after-school program and citizens temporarily displaced at two YMCA camps in west Charlotte.  Thirty bags and cards were delivered to the McCrorey YMCA, led by Executive Director Dena Jones, a former Mint docent and student of retired Mint master art teacher Rita Schumaker. Jones noted the great need of families there and those displaced.” These 30 cards and bags will be a blessing to them all, and we appreciate it. Hunger is real, even in Charlotte,” Jones says.

The Mint’s program teen team leader Alex Brown and her mother, Stacey Price Brown, PhD, president of the Grier Heights Community Improvement Organization, have deep roots in the community. They delivered the 43 bags to families during Mother’s Day weekend.

Mint Museum Community Youth Arts Program teen leader Alex Brown delivers a Food Lion tote bag and gift card to a family.

“The Grier Heights community embraces four core values: self-sufficiency, education, empowerment and family! Through our partnership with the Mint Museum you empower our families to educate themselves about their history, their cultures and their health so that they can be model citizens of self-sufficiency for themselves, their families and their communities. Through this COVID-19 pandemic, you have not stopped honoring our community’s core values by sharing care packages, Food Lion gift cards and inspiring messages to empower and educate our families to stay safe and healthy,” Brown says. “We are very thankful for partnerships and neighbors like you who have invested in our community for over 15 years, and the return on your investment has produced many youth and families who are healthier individuals mentally, physically and emotionally so that they, collectively, can go into our society making it a more livable, equitable and just place.”

Dr. Stacey Price Brown, president of the Grier Heights Community Improvement Association, gets ready to deliver 43 Food Lion tote bags and gift cards within the community.