7 Quotes to Honor The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest leaders in world history. Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950’s-60’s to achieve legal equality and economic justice for African Americans in the United States.  Legislation for a Holiday honoring Dr. King was first introduced four days after Dr. King’s assassination, then signed into law in 1983.

 

Today, we honor the legacy and memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with 7 of his quotes  on racism, social change, and nonviolence:

  • “Racism is a philosophy based on a contempt for life…It separates not only bodies, but minds and spirits. Inevitably, it descends to inflicting spiritual and physical homicide upon the out-group.”
  • “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now…”

  • “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.’” 
  • “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense [rather] than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” 

  • “It is the arrogant assertion that one race is the center of value and object of devotion, before which other races must kneel in submission.” 
  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Image and quotes, courtesy of The King Center.org. (accessed January 17, 2016).  http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-dr-king.  See excerpts from the historic March on Washington below, courtesy of The History Channel.

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The King Library and Archives in Atlanta is the largest repository of primary source materials on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement in the world. Significant records which document the social, cultural, economic and political impact of the civil rights movement are housed at the King Library and Archives, and are available online. See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/

 

 

 

The American Journey of the Negro National Anthem

At the age of 28, James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) began to pen a poem which would become one of the most celebrated hymns of all time. Johnson was not only a writer, but also a lawyer, teacher, United States diplomat, and the author of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Negro National Anthem. He became the first African-American to pass the bar in the state of Florida, and also served as executive secretary of the NAACP from 1920-1930.

VOICE OF A PEOPLE, SONG OF A NATION

After receiving his bachelor’s and law degrees, Johnson balanced dual careers as educator and lawyer, while also writing poetry. In 1900, at the age of 29, he was asked to speak at an observance at the Florida school where he was principal, but chose to write a piece instead. That piece became what we now know as Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Said James Weldon Johnson –

“A group of young men in Jacksonville, Florida, arranged to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. My brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, and I decided to write a song to be sung at the exercises. I wrote the words and he wrote the music. Our New York publisher, Edward B. Marks, made mimeographed copies for us, and the song was taught to and sung by a chorus of five hundred colored school children.

“Shortly afterwards my brother and I moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds. But the school children of Jacksonville kept singing it; they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children. Within twenty years it was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country. Today the song, popularly known as the Negro National Hymn, is quite generally used.

“The lines of this song repay me in an elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children.”[1]

 

In 1939, renowned artist Augusta Savage received a commission from the World's Fair for a work of art. She created a 16-foot plaster sculpture titled “The Harp”, which was inspired by “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”. The sounding board of the harp is the arm and hand of God.

In 1939, renowned artist Augusta Savage received a commission from the World’s Fair for a work of art. She created a 16-foot plaster sculpture titled “The Harp”, which was inspired by “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. The sounding board of the harp is the arm and hand of God.

In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded and by 1920, Johnson was appointed as its Executive Secretary. As he worked with the organization to combat racism, lynching, and segregation, the popularity of his anthem began to spread throughout the South. Copies of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” could be found in Black churches across the country, and the NAACP had adopted it as its theme song. It was also during this time that “Negro History Week” (now “Black History Month”) was first celebrated, conceived by noted historian Carter G. Woodson.

According to Harry Henderson and Romare Bearden in A History of African-American Artists (From 1792 to the Present)-

“[Lift Every Voice and Sing] resonates strongly as a Christian hymn because it is a song about exodus. It is a story of a journey sanctified by faith, and protected and prospered by God”[2].

Though the Johnson brothers wrote over 200 songs together (mostly for the stage), this anthem would be their most renowed. Recent historic references to Lift Every Voice include the recitation of its 3rd stanza by Civil Rights leader Reverend Joseph Lowery (formerly president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference), for his benediction at the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama in 2009, and a beautiful performance by noted soprano Denyce Graves at the opening ceremonies of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC in 2016.

Lift Every Voice and Sing continues to serve as inspiration of a people, and an anthem of resilience, hope and faith – not only for African Americans, but also for all Americans who are on the journey to freedom, liberty and justice. 

 

LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING

Lift every voice and sing,

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the list’ning skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on till victory is won.

CLICK HERE FOR A PDF OF THE COMPLETE LYRICS. Watch violinist Karen Briggs perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ below:

Read more about The American Journey of Black History Month HERE.

See Dr. Judith McAllister and the West Angeles Mass Choir’s presentation of “We Shall Overcome” HERE.


[1] – Poetry Foundation, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/46549

[2] – Bearden, Romare and Henderson, Harry:  A History of African-American Artists (From 1792 to the Present), Pantheon Books (Random House), 1993, ISBN 0-394-57016-2. Pp. 168-180.

Image of Augusta Savage, courtesy, New York Public Library.

Dr. Tonya Lewis: 12 Verses for Living Stress-Free

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11).

Those plans do not include stress and worry about the issues in our lives. God really wants us to trust His love for us, as well as His commitment to be our Heavenly Father. Who knows better than He what it means to “Be” our Heavenly Father? He has pledged to care for us and even signed on the dotted line with the blood of His beloved and precious Son, Jesus Christ.

God’s original plan for us was to dwell in the stress-free environment of the Garden of Eden, while enjoying a loving relationship with Him. Genesis 2:16-17 says,

But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden – except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Adam’s decision to disobey God did not position him and the rest of us to just automatically enjoy a stress-free life. Now, we must put forth the effort to live stress-free.

Jesus asked in Matthew 6:27, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan? How often does Jesus have to substitute Martha’s name with our names and say to us what He said to her in Luke 10:41– “Martha, Martha,” the Lord replied, “you are worried and upset about many things?”

12 Verses for Stress-free Living

It is DEFINITELY possible to free our minds of anything which troubles us if we just follow God’s directives found in His Holy Word. Such verses to aid us in living stress-free” are: 

  1. Matthew 6:34– “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
  2. Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
  3. 1 Peter 5:7– Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 

Yes, “all” is such a tiny word to encompass such a giant-sized invitation, yet God means ALL…each and every single concern (even concerns you have that are not reasonable to others—yes, even those concerns)!

God knows that we cannot focus on obeying His will and Word if we are consumed with our own worries. Other verses to aid us are:

  1. Psalm 37:5Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you.
  2. Psalm 55:22Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
  3. Psalm 23:1-The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
  4. Psalm 34:9O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.
  5.  Psalm 34:10-…But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.
  6.  Psalm 84:11-the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
  7. Matthew 7:11So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
  8. Romans 8:32Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?
  9. Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right; His ears are open to their cries for help.

We must also note that Jesus said in Luke 10:42,There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Minister Matthew Henry explains, “For one thing is needful, this one thing that she has done, to give up herself to the guidance of Christ. The things of this life will be taken away from us, at the furthest, when we shall be taken away from them; but nothing shall separate from the love of Christ, and a part in that love.”* 

So stop stressing and worrying, and live stress-free!” God Bless!

 

[*] – Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. Accessed 9/27.

Photo, © Aaron Burden, c/o Creation Swap.

25 Quotes from Dr. Maya Angelou

The world has lost a literary legend.

Memoirist and poet, Dr. Maya Angelou has gone to be with the Lord. She died in her home in Salem-Winston, North Carolina on Wednesday at age 86.

Below is a list of some of her top influential quotes, which do their part to help many of us that stayed behind navigate through life.

On God:

While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.

Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We come from the Creator with creativity. I think that each one of us is born with creativity.

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On love:

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.

The love of the family, the love of one person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society.

On perspective:

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

Nothing will work unless you do.

All great achievements require time.

On being a woman:

I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.

A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.

On being black:

Black people comprehend the South. We understand its weight. It has rested on our backs… I knew that my heart would break if ever I put my foot down on that soil, moist, still, with old hurts. I had to face the fear/loathing at its source or it would consume me whole.

I speak to the black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition.

If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat.

On life:

I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.

I’m considered wise, and sometimes I see myself as knowing. Most of the time, I see myself as wanting to know. And I see myself as a very interested person. I’ve never been bored in my life.

If you’re serious, you really understand that it’s important that you laugh as much as possible and admit that you’re the funniest person you ever met. You have to laugh. Admit that you’re funny. Otherwise, you die in solemnity.

On humanity:

All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.

Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.

Growing up, I decided, a long time ago, I wouldn’t accept any manmade differences between human beings, differences made at somebody else’s insistence or someone else’s whim or convenience.

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On courage:

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.

We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay – and rise!

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Although we may hope for a deferment from heaven’s gates, we praise God for the memory of Dr. Angelou’s voice and spirit.

Sunrise: April 4, 1926                                                      Sunset: May 28,2014

10 Quotes Martin Luther King

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

**Bonus

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

10 Quotes Nelson Mandela

In Honor Of Black History Month:

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Nelson Mandela

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.
Nelson Mandela

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.
Nelson Mandela

I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.
Nelson Mandela

Our single most important challenge is therefore to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual.
Nelson Mandela

There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people.
Nelson Mandela

Nonviolence is a good policy when the conditions permit.
Nelson Mandela

Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.
Nelson Mandela

**Bonus

I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.
Nelson Mandela

Top 10 Quotes of Bishop Charles E. Blake

Of the daily encouragements that Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake has either tweeted about or shared with you on Facebook–below is the TOP 10 quotes of Bishop Charles E. Blake. Be encouraged and most of all, be blessed.

1.If God can raise the dead, He can deal with your problems! 563 likes 73 shares

2. Let Go of harmful, non-productive regrets and sorrows about past failures, past hurts and past defeats! Nothing deserves a funeral everyday! 250 likes 73 shares
3.Hold on until you get your miracle! Every miracle confirms the purpose of God. 317 likes 43 shared
4. Read the bible! That should be your main textbook for your life! 413 likes 41 shared
5.Child of God, don’t be so quick to go your own way. Stay under the blood of Jesus. 387 likes 71 shares
6. When you begin to honor God, the flesh knows it’s about to be defeated. 271 likes 46 shares
7.Morning Prayer:

Search my mind, Search my will, Search my heart; Search me, O Lord.
I want to be what you want me to be.
I want to live like you want me to live.
I want to give you glory; I want to give you praise.
Every day I want to go higher; every day I want to be better.
Every day I want your power resting on me in Jesus Name. Amen. 263 likes 83 shares

8. Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the Heart…Work on your Heart! 286 likes 53 shares
9. Nobody can take care of you like God can! 678 likes 45 shares
10. Make up in your mind that you are not going to quit until you get to where you need to go! 359 likes 58 shares
11. I choose to elevate my vision so BIG that there’s no way I can do it without a miracle from God! 316 likes 51 shares

 

Inspiring Quotes from Great Women in History Part II

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“To me success means effectiveness in the world, that I am able to carry my ideas and values into the world–that I am able to change it in positive ways.”

— Maxine Hong Kingston, author of “Woman Warrior”

 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

— Maya Angelou, African-American poet

 

“I rejected the notion that my race or sex would bar my success in life.”

— Constance Baker Motley, first African-American woman to serve as a federal judge

 

“For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women.”

–  Elizabeth Blackwell, first female physician in the United States

 

“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again.”

— Sojourner Truth, African-American abolitionist

 

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”

— Beverly Sills, former American opera soprano

 

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.”

— Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women”

 

“It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.”

— Jackie Joyner-Kersee, first woman to win back-to-back gold medals in the Summer Olympics

 

“Make a difference about something other than yourselves.”

— Toni Morrison, author of “Beloved” and first African-American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature

 

“I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet.”

— Susan B. Anthony, American suffragette and advocate of women’s rights

 

 

Inspiring Quotes from Great Women in History Part I

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”  Titus 2: 3-5

During this month of Women’s history, I would like us to learn from women that have accomplished much; Women that have surpassed obstacles and came out untarnished on the other side; Women that have paved a way for the younger generation to allow their dreams to come true.  May you be inspired and encouraged to live your life to the fullest from the female ancestors that have proved your capability and influence as a woman of God.

 

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

— Rosa Parks, African-American civil rights activist

 

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

— Marie Curie, chemist and physicist

 

“A woman is the full circle.  Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform.”

— Diane Mariechild, author of “Mother of Wit”

 

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

— Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple”

 

“You have to imagine it possible before you can see something. You can have the evidence right in front of you, but if you can’t imagine something that has never existed before, it’s impossible.”

— Rita Dove, first African-American poet laureate of the U.S.

 

“Woman must not accept; she must challenge.

She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her;

she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.”

— Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood

 

“The best protection any woman can have…is courage.”

— Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American abolitionist

 

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

— Oprah Winfrey, first successful African-American woman in media