Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Selma, and “Glory”



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1964. I found a video of Dr. King’s acceptance speech and thought I’d share it as a way of honoring this national holiday. I went looking for it because the movie Selma opens with his receiving this award.

Dr. King’s belief that “what the self-centered…have torn down…[the] other-centered can build up” is powerful to me, and I am inspired by his refusal to accept “that the ‘isness’ of our present nature” makes us “morally incapable of reaching up to the eternal ‘oughtness’” that confronts us. There are other moments in this speech that are relevant to our time, and I hope you have an opportunity to listen to Dr. King today. I also hope you have an opportunity to see Selma. There are powerful and inspiring moments in it, as well. If you’re a 7th, 8th, or 9th grade student, you can see the movie for free as part of a #selmaforstudents effort led by African American business leaders in New York (You can find more information about this here).

In addition to acting in Selma, Common collaborated with John Legend on “Glory,” the movie’s theme song. One of the lines from that song has stuck with me: “Justice for all just ain’t specific enough.” Each student at Crossroads, each family and faculty and staff member, represents a specific experience and situation. One of the advantages of being a part of Crossroads is that we are all able to express our multiple identities; none of us are reduced to a single role, experience, or way of being. This is an opportunity for all of us to imagine justice for all with person-by-person specificity. We are more able to reach for what ought to be, and we can build relationships with those who are other than ourselves.