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What do you know about Martin?

January 14, 2010
Original Poem, (c) All Rights Reserved

What do you know about Martin?

There was so much more to him than his dream

He spent his life waking up the consciousness of both black and white people

And those descendants from both sides who were stuck in-between


What do you know about Martin?

Did you know how courageous he was, how he stood firm and did not run

In the face of dogs, police, and angry mobs, he practiced what he preached

For he believed that love was more powerful than a hateful heart and a smoking gun


What do you know about Martin?

Of course you probably knew he was a master of speech and oration

He had degrees from Morehouse, Boston University, and Crozier Seminary College

And in 1955, he received a PHD, to show how much he valued education


What do you know about Martin?

What has his legacy taught or inspired you to do?

Are you one of the proud or one of those wondering, what is the big deal?

Are you aware of how his mere living has changed life so dramatically for you?


What do you know about Martin?

Were you aware that he was only 26 when elected first president of the MIA

It was the Montgomery Improvement Association that helped organize the busing boycott

That plucked both he and Rosa Parks from obscurity and sent them both on their fateful way


What do you know about Martin?

Did you know that it was his ability to lead and inspire that gained him a prominent role

In December 1956 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Alabama’s bus segregation laws

But it was Martin who helped motivate the people of Montgomery to keep on walking for a full year prior to that in the rain, sleet, and the cold


What did you learn from Martin?

How much or how little does it take to provoke you?

Does it take something that is life threatening to make you respond with violence?

Or will you go off if someone looks at you wrong or steps on your shoe?


It was during this ‘March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom’ in 1963

That Martin Luther King gave his famous, I have a dream speech

And it is these prophetic words that even 40 years later we reflect back on

For although many have sacrificed their lives, this dream is still beyond our reach


Black and White, Jews, and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics

All are still fighting each other, still fighting to be equal and free

We’ve figured out the part of holding hands and singing the song

But there is still too much injustice, hatred, and disunity


So when you echo the dream of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr

What do you really know about this man and his contributions?

How many strides that he fought for are we in danger of losing?

How many new battles have we stood up for and won?


Martin Luther King put everything on the line for freedom

Even when bombs where thrown into his home with his young baby and new wife

He said if we won’t stand for something we would die for anything

And that is how this great man lived his entire life


And then one day he talked of seeing the mountaintop

And told his brethren he would have to go alone

And at the age of 39, in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated

And God called his faithful and weary servant home


So what do you know about Martin

Do you know all that he did for you?

He said we all can be leaders, because we all can serve

So what kind of service can we expect now from you?


(c) 2007-2010, Barbara S. Talley. ‘What Do You Know About Martin’ is from the upcoming book, Just The Right Words: Special Occasion Poetry, to be Released in 2010.   Barbara is a keynote speaker, workshop leader, and author of six books.   Do not reproduce without express written permission from the author.  To contact Barbara, phone 301.428-4831 or www.thepoetspeaks.com
One Comment leave one →
  1. Michele permalink
    January 16, 2010 7:19 am

    What do I know about Martin? I believe that if Martin was here today he would truly be displeased with the state of mind of a lot of our young people. A lot of people refer to all of our young blacks derogatorily but it is not “all” of them. It is just those sheep that have lost their way and are in need of a shepherd to bring them back to the fold.

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