+

Preacher. Activist. Martyr. Liberator. Genius. Organizer. Humanitarian. Father. Husband. Human. Martin Luther King Jr. was all of those and then some.

Photo by Reg Lancaster/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

The charismatic world-changer was assassinated at just 39 years old on April 4, 1968. Having survived a stabbing attack, death threats, time in prison, and brutal threats and unethical surveillance from the FBI, King died with a heart that was in the state of a 60-year-old's.    


But it's not King's death that should be remembered. It's the incredible life he led and how he shaped civil rights, activism, and what it's like to be black in modern America.

On the night before King's death, he gave what would be his last speech in Memphis, Tennessee. Clearly worn by years of fighting injustice at one of the most racist and violent times in American history, King gave a resounding speech to a crowd of more than 2,500 people about the burdensome but necessary fight toward quality and justice for all. The last two minutes of the 40-minute speech are utterly incredible.

In his last speech, King makes it clear that the journey to equality is still long but worth it. Below are some of the most memorable quotes from that April night that we can apply today.  

Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images.

1. "It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity."

King spent his life preaching the benefit of working together instead of apart. He believed in the power of unity and peace in the face of injustice. King wanted black people to stick together and for humans to reach across the aisle to help one another.

2. "We aren't going to let any mace stop us. We are masters in our non-violent movement in disarming police forces; they don't know what to do."

Police brutality has been a disturbing issue that has plagued black communities for years. Using tactics, such as tear gas, hosing down women and children, and training dogs to attack black people in peaceful protests, the relationship between police and black people has long been fraught. One must only look to the Birmingham civil rights protest of 1963 or the 1965 march on Selma to find examples of brutal treatment from police.

Still, King believed we could live above that. Brutality, murders, and ignorance wouldn't stop freedom. Our society could do better.

3. "Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges because they hadn't committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. ... We aren't going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on."

At one point in American history, African-Americans counted as three-fifths of a person. In spite of a Constitution that declared freedom for all men, Founding Fathers who claimed to believe in freedom for all men, and a country that framed itself as a place where anyone could catch their dreams, black people were exempt and often attacked for attempting to do so for years. King wasn't going to accept this.

The Declaration of Independence states,"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Martin Luther King Jr. believed this statement should apply to black people, and he fought for that into his last days.  

Photo by Central Press/Getty Images.

4. "And when we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school — be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together. Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness."

King was many things, but one of his most prominent qualities was his giving nature and determination to fight for all. As such, his point about unselfishness, especially when it's inconvenient, is extremely indicative of his character and representative of how humanity can succeed today.  

Activism isn't always clean, convenient, or comfortable. But it is necessary for true changes.

When we step into someone else's shoes or put someone's needs before our own, we create spaces that aren't just for us. We include and uplift everyone.

In the last few minutes of King's speech, it's almost as if King was aware of the inevitable death that awaited him.

"Like anybody, I would like to live a long life," King said. "Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!"

Photo by  William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images.

King didn't promise that he'd never leave, but he did promise that the "promised land" — his version of "freedom" — was possible for all black people.  But too often, King's words are misconstrued to only support peace and not radical protest (even if it made others uncomfortable) — an erasure of what he actually stood for.  

We can better remember and honor King's life by listening to what he had to say, his support for radical societal changes that would create equality and freedom for black Americans.

While King himself may be gone, his work and ideology are pervasive in American life and activism today. As attacks mount against black people, Muslims, immigrant communities, and LGBTQ communities across the nation, King's dedication to peace, belief in a world that is fair to everyone, and unwavering support of being better together than we are apart is more relevant to the American dream than ever.        

Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed on April 4, 1968. "I Have Been to the Mountaintop" was his final public speech. You can listen to the full speech below and read the transcript here.

"Time is the one thing we cannot increase.”

Over his seven years as host of “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah brought us laughter and valuable insights, even with a pandemic and political upheaval. He made such a positive mark that the announcement of his departure from the show came as bittersweet news to fans.

During an interview with Hoda Kotb of “Today,” Trevor Noah gave further explanation to his personal decision to leave, and in typical Noah fashion, it touched on something universal in the process.

“I realized during the pandemic,” he told Kotb, “everyone talks about a ‘work-life balance.’ But that almost creates the idea that your work and your life are two separate things. When in fact, I came to realize during the pandemic that it’s just a ‘life-life balance.’ It’s just your life.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Cat hilariously rats out owner in front of the landlord

Maybe it's a right of passage into adulthood or maybe some landlords discriminate against pets because they can't tell people kids are forbidden in their residence. Either way, just about everyone has lived in a rental home that didn't allow pets. Most people just abide by the rules and vow to get a pet when they find a new home.

Some people, on the other hand, get creative. I once came across a post on social media where someone claimed their pit bull puppy was actually a Silver Labrador. But one woman on TikTok was harboring a secret cat in her rental that had a no pets policy, and either her cat was unaware or he was aware and was simply being a jerk.

My money is on the latter since cats are known to be jerks for no reason. I mean, have you ever left something on the counter for a few minutes? They make it their mission to knock it on the floor. So I fully believe this fluffy little meow box wanted to make his presence known in an effort to rat out his owner.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Delivery driver's reaction to snacks left for him shows how a little kindness goes a long way

“Seeing a grown man get so excited about Capri Sun is extra wholesome."

'Dee' the delivery guy stoked to get some Doritos.

Sometimes the smallest gesture can change someone’s day for the better, especially when that act of kindness lets them know their work is appreciated. Over the last few years, delivery drivers have done a fantastic job keeping people healthy during the pandemic, so Toni Hillison Barnett told News 11 that she and her husband started a tradition of leaving snacks for their drivers on the front porch.

The Barnetts, who live in Louisville, Kentucky, can see the drivers' reactions by recording them on their doorbell cameras. “I live for reactions like this to our snack cart! Thx to all of the delivery drivers out there! We appreciate you!” Toni wrote on an Instagram post.

Recently, one of the Barnetts’ delivery guys, a joyous fellow that we believe is known as Dee, went viral on TikTok because of his positive reaction to receiving some snacks during his deliveries. The snacks are tasty, no doubt. But it’s also wonderful to feel appreciated. After Toni posted the video it received over 100,000 views.

“Oh my God, you guys are the best, I gotta take a snapshot of this,” Dee can be heard saying in the video. “Oh, Capri Suns are my favorite, Yes!”

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
woman holding a cup of tea, writing in a notebook

It's no secret that everyone could use a little kindness in their lives and it can come in many forms. Sometimes it's the neighbor cutting your grass when your husband's away and you're too busy to get to it yourself. Other times it's sending a card to the elderly widow down the street.

One woman in Arkansas has taken to spreading kindness through writing letters to strangers. Allison Bond, 25, started writing letters over a year ago during COVID-19 when she couldn't attend school due to her medical condition. Bond has cerebral palsy and is at greater risk for serious illness should she contract the virus. Writing letters was an act of kindness that didn't require a trip out of the house.

Bond began by writing to soldiers and inmates. In fact, the first letter she received back was from a soldier. Bond told 5News, "I have one framed from a soldier. He had all his battle buddies sign it. So I framed it so I could put it up." She's kept every letter she's received.

Keep ReadingShow less