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Celebrating MLK Day 2016

January 20, 2016


Delores Fisher (funky AM blogging) at Skybound Coffee + dessert Lounge

Happy Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King celebration! It is an American holiday for many. For others, it’s just another day that happens to have a contentious origin and acceptance. For me . . .it is a time of cultural memory and thanksgiving for much that has changed regardless of what has basically remained the same.

Today is a pivotal day that points to February, Black History Month, a month long critical celebratory remembrance of African American’s contributions to the world. However, people like me count today as one day in a continuum of acknowledgement and remembrance. For the majority, this day is annually set aside to think about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  a Black family man who from time to time allegedly fell from familial loyalty and grace,   accepted back into the fold by loving wife Coretta.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born into the traditional Southern African American religious community experience. It is common knowledge that his father was a minister, his mother a church musician. His family ties ran deep roots into the community in which he grew. Like so many of his generation born under Jim Crow tyranny, he lived with virulent segregation which extended from the systematic to the personal that could turn vile and violent in an eye blink. He lived in an America in which he couldn’t even think about sitting down for lunch at many Southern lunch counters or at a table in many Southern AND Northern coffee shops.

This morning, after a disconcerting incident, across the street at a bistro with long lines and uptown in-crowd folks that look at me as if I should not even consider coming into their elite, private haunt, I am sitting comfortably in a very bio-saavy 21st century chillin’ coffee shop called Skybound coffee + dessert lounge at the corner of Market and Front near downtown San Diego.


Sign in front of Skybound Coffee = dessert lounge

Deciding that my kinda funky appearance may have prompted their response–it’s my morning stroll and write-I spotted the quiet welcoming coffee shop opposite the  uptown bistro. Skybound Coffee + dessert lounge’s barista smiles warmly as I walk in. I decided to stay. It might become one of my newest places to reflect and write.


Skybound Coffee + dessert lounge Outside dining area

A thick grey overcast sky with angry looking cloud masses and a peek-a-boo sun blowing occasional ray kisses onto cool undercurrent San Diego winter breezes has chased me these few blocks inland. Glad it did.  Skybound is a really cool coffee shop with really good coffee (their expresso is world ranked), scrumptious chocolate chip cookies (let them heat it up), and mellow yet rockin’ back drop music.


Skybound Coffee + dessert Lounge

MLK Walkway . . .

Earlier Monday morning, conscious of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s evolving legacy, I walked in deep thought. Despite no noticeable signs marking its existence, I know where MLK Walkway is, so I detoured from my Harbor stroll to walk and remember the history in which I grew up. Chilly winds skipped along the pavement, yet Mlk Walkway had sporadic  visitor clusters. Many stopped to read inserts of Rev. Dr. King’s memorable sayings. Here are my favorite today.


History books often sanitize our United States’ tumultuously bloody 1960s, a time of transition in concepts of racial, gender, religious, economic, social, age, disability, moral, political, educational, children’s rights and paradigms of power.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s scholarship is frequently under fire these days. His use of other’s textual material in his dissertation without consistently giving credit has stoked defaming flames of plagiarism.  

Recent work has pointed to the same issue in his speeches and indicates that many of today’s politicians are also . . . culpable. It would be quite interesting in this election year if someone did such an analysis across the board as speech writers and campaign strategists ride wild winds of word craft across the terrain of America’s emotional public, blasting smoke from full tilt rhetorical throttles

This recent critical interrogation of Rev. Dr. King’s speeches is a life lesson for all  speak writers, for professionals who create manuscript speeches and for students who are learning to write them, for extemporaneous and impromptu speakers who enjoy freedom from censure, saying what ever they want. Remember to mention the source if you borrow material.

If one of your “inspiring” thoughts happens to sound like another’s, and people note it, use their discovery as a humbling confirmation that your inner thought world reflects a corpus of ideas that seemingly reappear cyclically  in human existence.

At a later date, if it can be worked into another occasion and context, amend your  statements, cite the original source, include similarities and differences in your next speech. Keep researching, reading, studying, reflecting on information you acquire, giving voice to reflective thought.

It is common knowledge that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. read widely, that he  studied and reflected on others thoughts. He grew into a globally recognized activist-scholar. He developed one definitive voice crying in a wilderness of upheaval,1 one template for personal proactive response in the middle of terrifying times and alternative perspectives.

As I sit sipping flavorful coffee, eating a chunky chocolate chip cookie at a Skybound Coffee + dessert lounge table in 21st century San Diego California this January morning, churning in political angst from voices claiming to speak for the many, or the all, I think of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wonder . . .

End Note

  1.  KJV Matthew 3: 2-3 Biblical reference to John the Baptist.



Delores Fisher

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