“The time is always right to do what is right.”

I entered Kindergarten in the Fall of 1968 at the newly renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School, a school that continues to educate a diverse population in the Mount Hope neighborhood in Providence. King had been assassinated the previous Spring, and the school took on his name and his mission soon after.

My Kindergarten “class” was the first fully desegregated grade in Providence, an opportunity not lost on forward-thinking teachers and administrators. King’s legacy was celebrated throughout my elementary years, providing me at least a marginal appreciation for the Civil Rights Movement from an early age. Fifty years later, the school remains a vibrant community comprised of students and faculty who continue to build on King’s legacy.

I later attended Boston University where King earned his Ph.D. prior to his appointment as Minister of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in 1955. Along with Rosa Parks and others, he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott just six months after receiving his degree. MLK has been a worthy hero since I understood the concept of heroism. I became an educator and writer to further his message of tolerance and racial harmony.

In a complex world, with seemingly unending division, King’s message of unity and brotherhood is indeed more relevant than ever. On MLK Day 2022, the challenge is to once again be motivated by his words and inspired by his message.

I’ve updated a Spotify playlist with songs about King and the Civil Rights Movement that I put together a couple of years ago. Check it out below and listen to my radio show “The Kingston Coffeehouse” Tuesday 6-9PM on WRIU 90.3FM for more music inspired by MLK.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines. Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse,"...