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History

How one man roller-skated 685 miles to attend Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have A Dream' speech

black history month, martin luther king

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When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, he was met by nearly 250,000 people. Traveling from all over the country to participate in the March on Washington, this crowd became part of one of the most iconic and pivotal moments in civil rights history.

Joining those thousands at the Lincoln Memorial was Ledger Smith, a 27-year-old athlete and entertainer who traveled all the way from Chicago … on roller skates.

Ledger’s story might be lesser known, but it’s an inspiring one.


As a semiprofessional skater, Smith, better known as “Roller Man,” was known for his impressive tricks.

Deciding to really put his skills to the test, Ledger skated 685 miles, from Chicago to Washington, D.C. … for 10 straight days. My legs are sore just thinking about it.

When a 1963 publication of the Baltimore Afro-American asked him why, Smith replied that it was “to dramatize the march,” adding that he “did it in the slowest way.”

To prepare for his journey, Smith ran 5 miles every day for two weeks prior. And after skating for 10 hours a day for a little over a week, he arrived having lost 10 pounds.

black heroes

"Roller Man" Ledger Smith.

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Wearing a freedom sign across his chest, Ledger helped spread inspiration along his route. He wasn’t always met with encouragement. At one point a man had tried to run him down with a car in Fort Wayne, Indiana, according to a radio interview with WAMU.

Still, Ledger was also met by well wishers. The Afro-American reported that many people along the highway, some of them white, wished Ledger good luck, saying that they’d see him in Washington.

Determination (and incredible stamina) overcame the obstacles. Because on Tuesday, Ledger arrived, “sore, aching, but hoping he was 700 miles closer to freedom,” according to the report.

Ledger met up with his wife—who decided to go the more traditional route and travel by train—along with celebrities, activists and protestors to take part in the massive March on Washington. The couple witnessed firsthand the words that would become a beacon of hope for the future, and an emblem of black resilience.

Following nine other speakers, King had only planned on being at the podium for four minutes. But when prompted by gospel star Mahalia Jackson to “tell ‘em about the dream,” he stood on stage and spoke for 16 minutes. Though the speech notably ties in themes from the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, Shakespeare and the Bible, its most famous section was completely improvised.

Full of poetry and vigor, King challenged his community to “not wallow in the valley of despair,” and painted the picture of “walking together as sisters and brothers,” where King called it his dream, but it was Ledger’s dream too, along with countless others who arrived that day.

Ledger’s journey to Washington powerfully symbolizes the great lengths that African Americans had endured, were enduring—and still are enduring—to attain equality. But for Ledger, and the thousands that joined him, no distance was too great, if the long road leads to “free at last.”

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

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Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Education

12 books that people say are life-changing reads

Some books have the power to change how we see ourselves, the world, and each other.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Books are powerful.

As a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.


Out of all human inventions, books might just be the greatest. That may be a bold statement in the face of computers, the internet and the international space station, but none of those things would be possible without books. The written recording of human knowledge has allowed our advancements in learning to be passed on through generations, not to mention the capturing of human creativity in the form of longform storytelling.

Books have the power to change our lives on a fundamental level, shift our thinking, influence our beliefs, put us in touch with our feelings and help us understand ourselves and one another better.

That's why we asked Upworthy's audience to share a book that changed their life. Thousands of responses later, we have a list of inspiring reads that rose to the top.


Unsurprisingly, the most common responses were religious scriptures—the Bible, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, etc. Beyond those, here are the most common books, both fiction and non-fiction, that people considered life-changing.

1. "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist book cover

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Amazon

"From the very first page, Coelho's storytelling prowess weaves a tapestry of adventure, wisdom, and self-discovery that is unparalleled. The protagonist's quest for his personal legend resonated deeply with me, prompting introspection into my own aspirations and purpose. The narrative, while seemingly a simple tale, unravels layers of universal truths and timeless wisdom that are applicable to every reader's journey." – Matt Brown

"Such greatness. Coelho tells the story with simplicity and elegance, and it is beautiful. The Alchemist is rhetorical kind of book that stays with you, and demands some time to unfold in your mind. Loved it!" – J. Green

Find "The Alchemist" on Amazon.

2. "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements book cover

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Amazon

"This book literally changed my outlook on so many things. I’ve read it at least three times completely through. It helps deal with anxiety and helps you reframe and analyze your thoughts which may be troubling you. The writing style is great and I’ve already read other books by the same author. Would highly recommend purchasing this if you want to rethink your assumptions about yourself or other people." – Freddy

"By far the best book I’ve read. The simplicity in composition and detail is amazing. Would recommend everyone have a read. This book is truly a masterpiece." – Joshua

Find "The Four Agreements" on Amazon.

3. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Amazon

"I remember reading the book many years ago and being moved by it especially being from the North and not as familiar with racism. I wondered why some schools were banning it so decided to revisit. I had forgotten the details but it is still an important book and reminds us that the fight against all prejudice is never finished and its current resurgence is cause for concern. This book should be required reading at a pretty young age. We can’t change what we don’t understand. If you have children read it with them and teach them well." – Maria

"I can’t imagine, for the life of me, why this book has been banned. It is the most moral and righteous book I’ve ever read. It represents a time in our history when racism was endemic to the white population except for one compassionate lawyer. Told from his children’s point of view with an unforgettable narrator, the story of a small southern town comes alive." – Peggy

Find "To Kill a Mockingbird" on Amazon.

4. "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now book cover

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Amazon

"This has become a true icon in the book of books on understanding how the mind works and how we become trapped in it. A must read." – Bill C.

"This book helped me through the toughest time in my life. It was an easy read, but ultimately, it helped me open my mind to many things and see things from multiple perspectives. My life coach recommended this book, and I'm happy that she did. It truly did save my life." – Coach J.

Find "The Power of Now" on Amazon.

5. "The Midnight Library" by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library book cover

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Amazon

"I did not expect to enjoy this book so much. I very much admire the writer's prowess in creating a beautiful and inspiring story out of a depressing premise and what I admire even more is the perspective he has given me about life." – Ashish S.

"'The Midnight Library' by Matt Haig is nothing short of a literary masterpiece that effortlessly weaves together the threads of life, regret, and the boundless possibilities that lie in our choices. This No.1 Sunday Times bestseller and worldwide phenomenon is a soul-stirring exploration of the human experience that lingers in the reader's mind long after the final page." – George L.

Find "The Midnight Library" on Amazon.

6. "Atomic Habits" by James Clear

Atomic Habits book cover

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Amazon

"Atomic Habits by James Clear isn't just a book; it's a roadmap to personal excellence. Deserving a resounding 5 out of 5 stars, this masterpiece has profoundly impacted my approach to habit formation and personal development." – Ahamed

"Whether you're looking to break free from destructive habits, achieve ambitious goals, or simply lead a more fulfilling life, this book is a must-read. Clear's insights have the power to ignite change and propel you towards the best version of yourself." – SC

Find "Atomic Habits" on Amazon.

7. "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie book cover

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Amazon

"I wish I had read this book earlier. It teaches to love those in your life with everything you have. We never know when life will take them away. Our parents will continue to age. Our friends will drift away. We will end up driving away the ones we say 'I love you' to. It’s not too late to tell them how much you love them. It’s not too late to show them how much you love them. If you share your love before it’s too late, you won’t live your life with regret." – P.M.

"Mitch Albom is my favorite author. Tuesdays with Morrie did not disappoint. Please please read this book. It is heartwarming, inspirational and will make you do an introspection that will change your priorities. I promise." – A.C.

Find "Tuesdays with Morrie" on Amazon.

8. "Untamed" by Glennon Doyle

Untamed book cover

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Amazon

"By page 16, I’d already sobbed, laughed, sobbed, reconsidered who I am, how I live my life, and what I’m doing next, and cried again. So much fire lit. This is a masterpiece. Thank the universe (and Glennon) it published now. Lord knows we need this now. It is already one of my top favorite books ever, and I read a lot. Like, a LOT." – Anna S.

""Untamed" is a powerful and empowering memoir that delves deep into themes of self-discovery, authenticity, and breaking free from societal expectations. Doyle's writing is raw, honest, and deeply relatable. From the moment I started reading, I felt a connection to her journey and the struggles she navigates. One of the standout qualities of this book is Doyle's ability to articulate complex emotions and thoughts in a way that resonates with readers. Her insights into the expectations placed on women, the constraints of traditional roles, and the journey to reclaiming one's true self are both enlightening and inspiring." – Frank C.

Find "Untamed" on Amazon.

9. "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning book cover

Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

Amazon

"Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl is a poignant exploration of resilience under the most testing conditions. As a Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, Frankl intertwines his concentration camp experiences with his psychological expertise. Central to the book is the idea of logotherapy, which posits that finding meaning in life is the primary human drive. Frankl's narrative transcends its historical context, offering timeless insights into human endurance and the quest for purpose. The book is especially impactful for those facing personal adversities, as it highlights the power of choice and perspective in shaping one's destiny." – Neal W.

"This little one hundred page book is perhaps the most meaningful and profound that you can ever read. Disturbing, yet full of 'tragic optimism,' this book will change the way you think about life, happiness, and meaning." – Paige T.

Find "Man's Search for Meaning" on Amazon.

10. "The Untethered Soul" by Michael Singer

The Untethered Soul book cover

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

Amazon

"Michael A. Singer's "The Untethered Soul" is a literary masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on my journey of self-discovery. I stumbled upon this gem through a TikTok video recommendation, and I am profoundly grateful that I did." – Matt B.

"This book encapsulates every spiritual book I’ve read into a concise oneness! Everyone would benefit in some way by reading this book. Period." – Joe S.

Find "The Untethered Soul" on Amazon.

11. "The Giver" by Lois Lowry

The Giver book cover

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Amazon

"Brought this book since my daughter had to read it for school and I always like to know what are they are teaching her. I am going to be honest very surprise that they are giving this kind of story to a 8th grader since the story is very intense, surprising, sad but at the same time beautiful and teach the real meaning of love and sacrifice. That live in an idealistic world does not work and it's never better than having love in your live." – Marla

"The way Lois slowly introduces us into her idyllic and yet cruel world is simply amazing. The end of the book has left me completely moved and flabbergasted." – Nathan S.

Find "The Giver" on Amazon.

12. "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture book cover

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Amazon

"I’ve read this book twice now. Once at 18 and now again at 33! Both time it hits deep. Fantastic read!" – A.C.

"Professor Randy Pausch was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In response, Pausch wrote and delivered one last lecture--a self-help guide on living life with purpose and meaning. But his lecture wasn't really for his students or for the world, although it's been a massive bestseller. It was for his children.

One of my favorite books of all-time, with one of my favorite lines of all time. 'If I could only give three words of advice, they'd be, 'Tell the truth.' If I got three more, they'd be, 'All the time.' --Randy Pausch" – Phil W.

Find "The Last Lecture" on Amazon.

If you enjoy inspiring reads, our upcoming book, "Upworthy—GOOD PEOPLE: Stories From the Best of Humanity" features 101 stories of human decency and is now available for pre-order! Learn more here.

Good people book cover

GOOD PEOPLE: Stories From the Best of Humanity

books.disney.com

This article originally appeared on 2.19.24

Representative photos by PollyDot and Janko Ferlic

Toddler tells mom about monsters, its actually 50k bees in the wall

Little kids will try just about anything to avoid going to bed on time. Typically it involves calls for approximately 13.2 glasses of water, five trips to the bathroom and the sudden imminent threat of starvation a couple of hours after dinner. But when none of those tricks work, they tend to pull out the old reliable monster under the bed or hiding in the closet.

Most parents have checked under the bed, in closets and behind curtains more times than they can count. Some parents have checked so many times for the monster complaint that they're hoping to uncover Monstropolis in the closet just to change up the routine. But there's never a Sully or Mike hidden amongst the clothes, so parents assure their kiddo its all in their imagination before putting them back to bed.

Except, when Ashley Class dismissed her daughter's concerns about monsters in her room, the little girl turned out to be telling the truth. Well...sort of.


The girl did think she was hearing monsters in the wall but it turned out that she was actually hearing thousands and thousands of bees. Class, who goes by the TikTok handle @classashley, didn't say what made her finally believe her daughter about the noise, but with that many bees some must've made their way into the house. Either way, an exterminator was called and the infrared camera lit up like there was a rave happening in the wall.

The mom, who recently just had a newborn weeks ago has updated her page several times. It seems that after the 50,000 bees were safely removed from the wall with the assumption they got them all, more bees made their presence known. There was another hive with thousands more bees hidden in the wall of her 100-year-old house.

"Still seeing thousands of bees even though 50k were removed (safely) from our daughter's bedroom wall," Class writes in the caption of one video.

@classashley

What nighthmares are made of #bees #toddlersoftiktok #toddlers

Hundreds of pounds of honeycomb was removed from the walls, Class received several bee stings, and the family's floor was covered in honey. This was probably not the push present the mom had in mind after giving birth to her youngest baby. Commenters were not only shocked but terrified of the discovery of so many bees, though some thought of much scarier scenarios.

@classashley

Replying to @lexi 🎀 Update 4: Still seeing thousands of bees even though 50k were removed (safely) from our daughter’s room wall #honeybees #bees #savethebees #homerenovation #toddlertiktok #momsoftiktok #beegate #nightmarefuel

"I would honestly rather have monsters in the wall than to have 50k bees," one person says.

"I would've screamed and ran outside and not went back into the house," another wrote.

"If your whole house mysteriously burns down homeowners insurance would cover it then...This is a joke," someone laughs.

@classashley

Replying to @Claudia Guerrero-Dal not taking any chances #savethebees #nightmarefuel #beegate #dangerzone #beekeepersoftiktok #momsoftiktok

One person asks if the family have tried hiring a bear, since the bees just seem to keep coming. This will be a costly project since homeowner's insurance doesn't cover the damages caused by having to relocate the bees. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the Class family is quite done fighting with the bees as the last video posted shows the mom of three suited up to entered the sealed off room to retrieve something. Here's hoping all bees will be in their new home soon and the little girl with a keen ear will have her bedroom back.

Photo by Jeanson Wong on Unsplash

We know Coca-Cola cans are red, but that's not why it looks red in a viral optical illusion.

Optical illusions are wild. We can look at an image and swear up and down we see one thing, only to find out what we're seeing isn't what we're actually seeing at all.

Some optical illusions regularly go viral, like the not-really-two-dogs photo or the cat going up or down stairs drawing or the moving Van Gogh painting. (And we all remember the debates over "the dress," right?)

One that's making the rounds now is an image that appears to be a pixelated photo of someone holding a Coca-Cola can. The colors are muted, but the can definitely looks red.


But it's not.

In reality, the only visible colors in this image are black, white and teal (or cyan).

from woahdude

Seriously, zoom in.

Trippy, right? There's a similar version that uses a more stripey pixelation:

And there's another version made out of black, white and yellow that makes the Coke can appear blue (negating the idea that our brain is automatically making the can red because it's the color our brain expects it to be).

Again, no blue in this image when you zoom in. There's only black, white and yellow.

So what exactly is going on here?

It's the complicated way our colors work and the way our eyes perceive and process them in our brains. Here's how one Reddit user explained it when someone claimed the white in the Coke can wasn't really white:

"It is white. This is an example of simultaneous color contrast, a phenomenon that occurs when two adjacent colors influence one another, changing your perception of the colors. The cones in your eyes make it seem like it is pink. Cones give your eyes good color vision but can also play tricks with your brain, hence why from a distance, ie not zoomed in, the color appears pink and why you see the can of Coke as “red” even though there is no red in the image.

Essentially, the way your eyes see color in the first place is by contrasting it with other colors."

Another commenter verified that the white is, in fact, pure white. "The pixel color on the white is: #FFFFFF which means pure white. If there were any red in there we would see a variation on it like #FFFEFE. It is not a trick. It really is pure white," they wrote. "I too thought it might be a compression trick. Nope. Our brains just be weird."

Indeed, our brains do be weird.

Photographer and filmmaker Jared Bendis explained it in another way with a demonstration of the "Retinex effect," also known as color constancy. Essentially, because our eyes have to recognize color in varying kinds and amounts of light (otherwise how would we find food at different times of day), our brain is excellent at filling in blanks. How it works is rather complicated, so Bendis shows how it works using a photo of a bowl of fruit.

Our brains may be weird, but also very cool.

@grandadjoe1933/TikTok

Ah, biscuits and gravy. the food version of "never judge a book by it's cover."

If you haven’t stumbled across Grandad Joe (@grandadjoe1933) on TikTok yet, you’re in for a treat. The charming 91-year-old, who lives with his daughter Sasha in the UK, delights over 6 million followers with his infectious joy and enthusiasm—particularly when Sahsa cooks him special meals.

Recently, by “popular request,” Joe got to introduce his taste buds to that deceptively delicious Southern staple: biscuits and gravy.


“Guess what I got for you” Sasha can be heard sing-songing in the clip as she brings a smiling Joe a plate with with a heaping helping of the exotic cuisine.

“It’s from the South, sort of down Texas way, I think. Maybe Alabama,” she explains as Joe readies his napkin.

As she places the plate down, Joe wonders if the biscuits are scones. Which is a fair assumption, since, as we know biscuits in the UK are actually cookies. Whereas scones, while still semi-sweet, appear more like American biscuits.

Of course, Sasha does admit that she did make scones, since “you can’t really get the American biscuits, I don’t think. But I think they’re pretty similar.”

But that hardly seems a problem, judging by the ecstatic look on Joe’s face when Sasha tells him that the gravy includes sausage.

All in all, the video just hits a sweet spot between witnessing an elder display child-like joy, wholesome family bonding, and appreciation of good food. What’s not to like?

Feast your eyes below:

@grandadjoe1933 Here is Grandad Joe reacting to the highly requested American meal of Biscuits and Gravy! Thank you to everyone that recommended it, he absolutely loved it . Please recommend some more recipes for him to try 🙏 #bisuitsandgravy #grandadjoe #americanfood #dadanddaughter ♬ original sound - Grandadjoe

Needless to say, Joe liked his meal, and his tasting video inspired a few bona fide Southerners to chime in.

“As a southerner (eastern nc) that has introduced this meal to many, I am so happy that grandad Joe likes it so much! ❤️,” one viewer wrote on Reddit.

“This is so funny to me, because I grew up in the south and ate this, as well as, fried chicken biscuit sandwiches for breakfast every morning growing up 😆” another added.

Others felt compelled to share their own personal love for the dish.

“Biscuits and gravy is one of the tastiest and easiest ‘impressive’ comfort foods to make for people. I love making it for people and I love seeing how much they enjoy it. Not great for you, but worth the few extra miles you have to run the next day every time,” one person shared.

“It's one of my fav breakfast foods!!! My lovely wife makes it all the time. She adds a little bit of cayenne pepper to spruce it up just a bit. I'm drooling just thinking about it.” wrote another.

And others still simply shared their love of sweet Grandad Joe. I think this commenter sums up what we’re all feeling:

“May we all live with this much glee and wonder in our everyday lives.”

And by the way, if you’re jonesing to watch more endearing videos of Brits trying American foods, click here , here and here. Bon apetit.

Internet

Mom schools trolls after people accuse her of putting blue contacts in her baby's eyes

"There are literally tribes where Africans have blue eyes and blonde hair."

Representative photo by Winnie Bruce and Social Perspectives via Canva

People accuse mom of putting contacts in baby's eyes

There's a misconception that only a certain demographic of people can have light colored eyes and different colors and textures of hair naturally. This can cause a lot of frustration for people on the receiving end of someone else's disbelief and curiosity.

One mom has been dealing with hurtful assumptions since her daughter was born, all because her dark-skinned Black daughter was born with crystal blue eyes. Cheryl Neufville Neufville took to social media to address the hate and rumors once and for all.

In the video Neufville shares that as soon as her daughter was born the doctor said he wanted to get the little girl's eyes checked for cataracts due to the color. But some of the most presumptuous comments come from people outside of the medical field.


The mom has been accused of editing not only her daughter's eyes but her husband's eyes too, since her husband is the one that passed down the blue eyes. People have accused her of putting contacts in her toddler daughter's eyes, which seems like a herculean feat if we're being honest. Toddlers are deceptively quick and strong for tiny people with oversized noggins.

While the comments likely frustrate her, she took the comments as an opportunity to educate people. Neufville shows several pictures of her husband's side of the family before moving on to the education bit. Every one of them have blue eyes and according to the mom, this goes back at least seven generations.

"Now with even all of this, there are still going to be people who do and say whatever they want but I just wanted to make a few things clear. This idea that a certain feature on someone is only reserved for a certain demographic of people is extremely damaging and it can be harmful to families like mine," shares Neufville.

The mom reveals that she's had people "slap" her baby to wake her up to see if she actually had blue eyes. She closes the video by reminding people that just because someone hasn't seen something with their own eyes doesn't mean that something's not true. Watch her entire video below, you'll even get a peek at her precious blue eyed baby trying to steal the show.

@heyy..cheryl

#greenscreen a quick little lesson 🌈🥰🦋✨💕🍄🌺