“The time is always right to do what is right.”
I began Kindergarten in the Fall of 1968 at what was then the newly renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary 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 educators. King’s legacy was celebrated throughout my elementary school years, providing me with at least a marginal appreciation of the Civil Rights Movement from an early age. Fifty-five 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 2023, the challenge is to once again be inspired by his words and motivated 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.
Check out some more ways to commemorate King’s legacy over the long weekend below:
Friday, January 13: Haus of Glitter will host a ceremony and unveiling of new temporary signage at Hopkins Homestead in Providence.
Saturday, January 14: Ocean Glitter Celebration: Dive into the deep end with The RI Black Storytellers + The Haus of Glitter to celebrate Funda Fest’s 25th Anniversary with an unforgettable night of joy, community and dancing.
Sunday, January 15: Join Bintimani and Haus of Glitter for a Black History Brunch + Trivia + Celebration at AS220 Food + Drink! Reserve your table for trivia because this will sell out quick. Open all day, even for those who don’t make it to Black History Brunch Trivia in the gallery at noon,