There were moments when Memphis in 2017 resembled Memphis in 1968. Protesters took to the streets. Police mobilized to contain them. Confederate flags were raised in anger. Fists were raised in solidarity. And two icons of the city's Confederate, slave-selling past were removed from their places of honor in city parks.
It was a symbolic victory, so hard won we can only begin to imagine the institutional barricades to meaningful social and economic justice. On Monday, January 15th, three months before the 50th-anniversary of his assassination in Memphis, America celebrates the life and service of Martin Luther King Jr., who so memorably taught us how to bring down the icons of oppression, saying, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
- Gino Santa Maria / Shutterfree, Llc | Dreamstime.com
Well, love and a whole lot of hard work.
The National Civil Rights Museum is always a hub of activity on the national MLK day of service. This year, the museum is hosting a variety of entertainments and service-oriented activities including a food drive for the Mid-South Food Bank and opportunities to donate to Lifeblood. A community pavilion in the museum's parking lot will provide a variety of services including health screenings and information from organizations ranging from Just City and the New Memphis Institute to Latino Memphis and the NAACP. Performers scheduled to appear include Will Graves & Soul, Mighty Souls Brass Band, Stax Music Academy, African drummers, and Watoto Academy of Performing Arts.