Dr. King’s Message of Hope

By Dick DeMarsico, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, but his birthday is celebrated on the 3rd Monday in January. Dr. King’s life was dedicated to uplifting his fellow-man, the downtrodden, the poor, the hopeless, and the forgotten.  In Trumpet of Conscience, Dr. King reflected on hope:

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose the courage to be, the quality that helps you to go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.”

We’ve got to do what we can to “keep hope alive” for the jobless, homeless, and hopeless.  Reflect on the time in which Dr. King lived and how he responded to difficulties.  In spite of everything he endured, the hoses and attack dogs, his home bombed, being spit on, jailed, ridiculed, and threatened with death, he still had hope and faith.  To read about my second favorite Dr. King quotes on Justice, click here… http://wp.me/ppImQ-e8

Barbara Talley is a keynote speaker, author, poet, and trainer who can be reached at www.thepoetspeaks.com.  Still looking for a keynote speaker for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, or Administrative Professional Day, phone Barbara at 301-428-4831.

“Ouch” – BLACK ENOUGH? Remark About RGIII Hits the RACE Nerve.

one planetSo, just what does it mean to not be “black enough?”  While it was the most recent controversy between two high profile black men in sports that brings this question to the forefront, the questions of race and identity and what it means to be black have never been sufficiently addressed.  First of all, I’m not into sports, so the fact that RGIII is a celebrity, makes little difference to me. But the race and identity discussion does catch my attention, since I am African-American, I work in Diversity, and this question unfortunately hits too close to home.  As a mother, I’ve been dealing with this issue on behalf of my children for decades unabated. My fifteen year old daughter was outraged just a few months ago when she experienced this in her “magnet school” that lacks much diversity. A kid at her school told her she wasn’t black like the kids at a different school.  I too faced this same challenge as a child when my father took us from the north to the south while doing migrant work.  My sisters and I were often mocked and ridiculed by the other kids who said, “We talked proper.”  It didn’t stop there, many times in my career have I heard the ignorant comment, “You’re different!” What’s that supposed to mean? Although it was usually meant as a compliment, it left me with the same distaste as it did as a child.  I interpreted that comment as:”I’ve got this definition of what it is to be black, and you don’t fit it!”  Rather than the person admitting that perhaps their definition of blackness was flawed, instead I was the anomaly.  “I was different!”  So I got it from both sides, both black and white.

Who gets to define what “black enough” is: black people, white people or no one?  Before I go on, let me point out one thing.  Color is just an accident of climate.  People who live closer to the equator have become darker over the centuries than those who live in more cooler climates. Race does not define a person’s values, character, or identity.  There are those with good character and values and those without it in every ethnic group.  And finally, we are all members of one human race. There is no black race, white race, or brown race.  We are all humans and part of one race, one human family.  You are more apt to pick up traits from your environment and culture than from people who have the same “color”  as you. We all have different traits, yet we are predominantly the same:  “There are more than three million differences between your genome and anyone else’s. On the other hand, we are all 99.9 percent the same, DNA-wise.” 99.9% says it all. Race and color are cloaks for other things, racism, imperialism, and a convenient way to separate people to justify preferential treatment for some and disparate treatment for others.

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.

Joseph P. Overton: Character for a Free Society | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

One of Martin Luther King Jr’s most well-known quotes was, “Judge me not by the color of my skin, but by the content of my character.”  While doing some research on Martin Luther King Jr’s March on Washington, I came across an article in the NY Times article discussing the event and asking for support.  There was a list of people on the article supporting the march.  I decided to randomly google one of the names ‘L Joseph Overton’ and came across this wonderful article (which isn’t the same person).  An excerpt is below.

“The world needs more men who do not have a price at which they can be bought; who do not borrow from integrity to pay for expediency; who have their priorities straight and in proper order; whose handshake is an ironclad contract; who are not afraid of taking risks to advance what is right; and who are honest in small matters as they are in large ones.

The world needs more men whose ambitions are big enough to include others; who know how to win with grace and lose with dignity; who do not believe that shrewdness and cunning and ruthlessness are the three keys to success; who still have friends they made twenty years ago; who put principle and consistency above politics or personal advancement; and who are not afraid to go against the grain of popular opinion.

The world needs more men who do not forsake what is right just to get consensus because it makes them look good; who know how important it is to lead by example, not by barking orders; who would not have you do something they would not do themselves; who work to turn even the most adverse circumstances into opportunities to learn and improve; and who love even those who have done some injustice or unfairness to them. The world, in other words, needs more true leaders. More to the point, the world needs more Joe Overtons.”

via Joseph P. Overton: Character for a Free Society | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty.

What do you know about Martin?

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

1st of My Fave Five Dr. King Quotes: On Faith and Hope

Today, as I reflect on Dr. King, the media is filled with reports on the catastrophic devastation going on in Haiti.  Sources fear that up to 100,000 people may have died and describe it as the worst earthquake to hit the Caribbean nation in 200 years.  Everywhere, people of conscience are being moved to help.  We cannot let our fellow brothers and sisters lose hope and we can’t lose hope either.

Dr. King’s life was dedicated to uplifting his fellow man, the downtrodden, the poor, the hopeless, and the forgotten.  In Trumpet of Conscience, Dr. King reflected on hope,If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose the courage to be, the quality that helps you to go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.”

We’ve got to do what we can to “keep hope alive.”  Not only for the Haitian people, but also for the jobless, homeless, and hopeless people right here at home.  Reflect on the time in which Dr. King lived and how he responded to difficulties.  In spite of everything he endured, the hoses and attack dogs, his home bombed, being spit on, jailed, ridiculed, and threatened with death, he still had hope and faith.  To read about my second favorite Dr. King quotes on Justice, click here… http://wp.me/ppImQ-e8

Barbara Talley is a keynote speaker, author, poet, and trainer who can be reached at www.thepoetspeaks.com.  Still looking for a keynote speaker for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, or Administrative Professional Day, phone Barbara at 301-428-4831.