Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sean Chapin’s MLK tribute

As longtime readers know, I’m a huge fan of YouTuber Sean Chapin. I think that his new video, a tribute to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of his best yet. I suppose I would say that, since MLK is one of my heroes.

About the time of the first official observance of Martin Luther King Day in 1986, the now defunct Chicago department store, Marshall Field’s, offered free small posters of MLK, a pen and ink impression, his image against his “I have a Dream” speech. I made a special trip to the State Street store to get one; when I arrived, I was the only person asking. That surprised me—I thought there’d be a queue. I always meant to frame the poster, but it was probably lost in one of my moves—maybe the final one, out of the country. I tell this only because I never have before.

Around 1981, I went to Memphis to see a production of the gay play, “Bent”. As part of my visit, we drove past the Lorraine Motel. I was beyond words. I didn’t see the spot where Dr. King died—being at the place was enough for me. It’s stayed with me ever since.

I have no doubt that had Dr. King lived, he would be standing by my side. His whole life’s work was about justice and fairness, and I simply cannot imagine him turning his back on GLBT Americans—and not just because his widow stood with us until the end. Dr. King was a visionary, a true patriot, the sort we seldom see in America, and for all those reasons he is one of my personal heroes. Really, there’s nothing more to be said.


Roger Owen Green said...

Yet - and some comments re the new statue have noted this - there are so many who have reduced MLK Jr to gentle pablum who would have recognized by now that the struggle is over, instead of a progressive who worried about economic and other injustice.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Very true. I think the rightwing in particular has been keen to turn MLK into a kind of soft-focus emblem so they can "prove" they're not racist by embracing the image they promote. The rightwing utterly rejects what King stood for and fought for and would not embrace him at all if it weren't for the political gains they think they can make with African Americans by doing so—provided it's the soft-focus emblem with no substance that they embrace.