The 25th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King Day Celebration has came and went. Most of us who work in federal – related workplaces and some school districts had the day off. Now I know that there are some who feel that having a day of in honor of King shouldn’t happen. Well let me debate this. First, I respect that those who bring this up every year. And second, I can hear this now: “Our Children should be taught more on this in school”. My question is what is being taught at home about MLK? That’s right I said it. I’m calling out all those folks who commented this! Since Dr. King’s death, it was Coretta Scott King’s vision to have a holiday or a day to commemorate the values and dedication of this man. She had support and brilliance and it took about 18 years up until 1986. Now for those who were born in 1986, you are old as this holiday. The same amount of years that Oprah had her show on TV. For those of us who are in our 30’s (like me) we were about 9 or 10 years old in the 80’s when this happened. Just as a reminder, that President Reagan didn’t support the thought to have a King Day in America, but he signed a bill for it to make it an observance. Most of the states held on to this Holiday, and states like Arizona had to come in late because of John McCain’s viewpoints. Now, I know why Arizona didn’t support this! – But after what happened in Tucson with Gabrielle Giffords, now it makes you wonder. What would Dr. King think about this?

Knowingly, that this “Federal Holiday” is not just a day off, but it can be a day on. Go to a shelter, or fix food for those who can’t fix it themselves. Go to a youth center and have a King Holiday Video Game Session, or a Hoopfest. Talk or listen to someone who was around when King was alive and was moved by his messages. If I had a chance to listen what the man said in his prime, that would be a given. Recently on the internet, I found a footage about Nichelle Nichols, who as we know played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek. And she was thinking about leaving the show after the first season. This kind of got Gene Roddenberry worried about what he was trying to accomplish. He told her to think it over that weekend. During her pondering, she attended an NAACP fundraiser, and one of the guests was beckoning to her that her biggest fan wants to meet her. That biggest fan was Martin Luther King Jr. King was a trekkie! He commented about the job she was doing as playing the character. Plus he did say that this was the show that he allows his children to watch along with his wife. But when Nichelle told Dr. King about her leaving the show, he said “You Can’t!” He asked “don’t you see what your doing here, and what this man is trying to do here?” He also said that “It is so important that you’re on the show, showing the future because little girls can look on that show and see themselves. You’re part of history and this is your responsibility even though it might not have been your career choice”. – taken from Jet Magazine.

Dr. King not only made an impact on Civil Rights, but also in the Entertainment business. And the platform that he was marching for, Nichelle was doing on Star Trek. And she stayed ever since that discussion. As far as the holiday is concerned, look. This has been a long time coming, and we got this! But I should also believe that it shouldn’t be a sham of disappointment just because the children aren’t learning this in school. We need to bring back the old REAL talk! The old school conversation stories of how families learned about black history by tales of busting down doors and to allow African-American Males (I use that term loosely) like me to walk through. Dr. King was one of those leaders. Lot of you don’t know about five years ago, I was faced with scrutiny about getting my B.S. Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout here in Wisconsin. I faced it from those who “thought” I had to go onto the Stout campus and work on my degree. I am now one of the few African-Americans that did it though Distance Education and to prove a point that it can be done. When I held that degree in my hands, I thought about all those folks in Milwaukee from the Urban League, Manpower, and even those some close to me thinking I had to do this in a traditional manner. They were all wrong! It didn’t matter what color they were, they were proven wrong. I’m telling the UW-Stout Alumni Association about this. Possibly. And I did thought about Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and any other person who was told “no, you can’t do it!” “It’s impossible”. Well, I am one of the few African American men that worked on a Bachelor’s Degree by using Distance Education that made it possible.

Now to those who have this question about school hanging over your heads, my question is what are you doing to learn about MLK, AT HOME?! All education doesn’t start in the classroom. It starts at home! You can hate the holiday all you want. You can hate Black History Month all you want. But, just respect the thought they are here for a reason. Pass it on.


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