Ira Gardner: Happy belated birthday Dr. King

Martin Luther King Day

Happy belated birthday Dr. King. I am typically late with birthday wishes and this one is no exception. I started to write this the morning of January 16th but was interrupted by a lack of confidence that as a white male I had any right to publish words about such a great leader. Today I thought better of it and decided to push through my own discomfort.

Today is Martin Luther King’s birthday and a Federal holiday. I took this day off to enjoy being with my son and his boy scout troop skiing. I am grateful for this time together but also feel obligated to acknowledge and honor the gift Martin Luther King has given us through his words, acts, and ultimately with his life.

Thanks to the power of the internet and podcasts, I started the day listening to a lecture by the poet Rita Dove and learning about a African-European concert violinist George Bridgetower who at one time was the acquaintance of Beethoven and inspired him to write a sonata dedicated to him. I have been a fan of Beethoven since I learned to play Für Elise as a young child on the piano. I was surprised I had not heard of Mr. Bridgetower before, but then again I wasn’t as it seems most of the contributions of people of color are overlooked in mainstream society and we continue to teach our children the ideology of Manifest Destiny.


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