Hear Martin Luther King Jr speak in a beautiful series of recordings called the Massey Lectures, which he was chosen to deliver in 1967. His voice sounds as clear and mellifluous as if these were recorded just yesterday.
For a somewhat less conventional approach to the subject, read below the Chinese Five Elements reading I originally wrote for King on my Chinese Astrology blog, Birthday Safari, which I will soon be transferring to typepad.
"Our Celebrity of the Month is Martin Luther King, Jr, born January 15, 1929, a Golden Earth Dragon. In some ways, this is the most powerful Animal in the Chinese Zodiac, yet despite his charisma, compassion, unusual level of receptivity - for a Dragon - and his supportive, helpful nature, the Earth Dragon often experiences set-backs in energy, luck and plans. His awareness of this vibrato in his tone makes him very careful and also very humble. He is supremely attractive and needs to be careful of relationship entanglements, excesses of indulgence, and addictions. So say the books, anyway. For myself, in looking at MLK, Jr - at least as far as we, the public, are able to do so - I would have to say that I see the attractiveness and charisma, and also the peace-loving, peace-making side of the Earth Dragon, generously willing to suffer for the sake of others. Dragon is an Earth Animal, and Earth Dragon is Earth doubled, with all its receptivity, willingness to receive whatever is offered to it, and ability to digest whatever comes, transforming it into pure Gold. Or as the Buddhists say, Transforming Difficulties into Happiness. I don't think MLK tried to change difficulties into 'happiness' exactly, but he was on that trail, seeking justice and simple decency for our American society.
"While still in college, MLK began to reflect on the nature of self-sacrifice in bringing about societal change. According to his biographer, Lerone Bennett, 'Another lecture, this one by Mordecai Johnson, then president of Howard University, thrust further thought upon (King). Johnson, a graduate of Morehouse and a powerful Baptist preacher, had returned from a 1950 visit to India with a deep conviction that Gandhi's tactics were applicable to the race struggle in America. After his return, he delivered several evangelical sermons on nonviolence and the redemptive power of love and unmerited suffering. Satyagraha, Gandhi wrote, "is the vindication of truth not by infliction of suffering on the opponent but on one's self."' (What Manner of Man, p.37) This approach would have great appeal to the Golden Earth Dragon.
"'Suffering and self-sacrifice were at the heart of Gandhi's philosophy. "The government of the day," he said, "has passed a law which is applicable to me. I do not like it. If by using violence I force the government to repeal the law, I am employing what may be called body-force. If I do not obey the law and accept the penalty for the breach, I use soul-force. It involves sacrifice of self..." Reading these words and others of similar tone and texture in 1950, King, then twenty-one and at a crucial turning point in his own development, was impressed despite himself.' (p.38)
"Other features of MLK's Four Animals include the warm, loving, and 'good' upbringing typical of the Wood Ox - an Animal he shares with Michelle Obama - which predisposes people to take on responsibility with a genuine willingness to help others. His Metal Monkey Day Stem and Branch give him lofty aspirations and high-mindedness - a markedly spiritual cast to the mind - and great intelligence, while his Water Horse makes him very emotional, somewhat rebellious and extremely hard-working.
"Martin Luther King lived only a short time on this earth, dying at age 39 – on April 4, 1968 - at the gunpoint of an assasin, but he was able to bring about a sea-change in his nation, as only a transformative Golden Earth Dragon could do."