05-20-2018  7:37 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Oregon State study says it's OK to eat placenta after all

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — First experts said eggs are bad for you, then they say it's OK to eat them. Is red wine good for your heart or will it give you breast cancer?Should you eat your placenta?Conflicting research about diets is nothing new, but applying the question to whether new mothers...

US arrest, raids in Seattle pot probe with China ties

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. authorities have arrested a Seattle woman, conducted raids and seized thousands of marijuana plants in an investigation into what they say is an international black market marijuana operation financed by Chinese money, a newspaper reported Saturday.Authorities are still...

State sees need to reduce elk damage in the Skagit Valley

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Elk are easy to spot against the green backdrop of the Skagit Valley, where much of the resident North Cascades elk herd that has grown to an estimated 1,600 is found.For farmers in the area — especially those who grow grass for their cattle or to sell to...

Famed mini sub's control room to become future exhibit

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport has a new addition to its archives — the salvaged control room of the legendary, one-of-a-kind Cold War-era miniature submersible NR-1.Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, conceived the idea for the...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Guess who's coming to Windsor? Royal ceremony weds cultures

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (AP) — With a gospel choir, black cellist and bishop, Oprah, Serena and Idris Elba in the audience and an African-American mother-of-the-bride, Saturday's wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle was a blend of the solemn and the soulful.Guess who's...

A royal wedding bridges the Atlantic and breaks old molds

WINDSOR, England (AP) — The son of British royalty and the daughter of middle-class Americans wed Saturday in a service that reflected Prince Harry's royal heritage, Meghan Markle's biracial roots and the pair's shared commitment to putting a more diverse, modern face on the monarchy.British...

ENTERTAINMENT

Reggie Lucas, who worked with Miles Davis and Madonna, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Reggie Lucas, the Grammy-winning musician who played with Miles Davis in the 1970s and produced the bulk of Madonna's debut album, has died. He was 65.The performer's daughter, Lisa Lucas, told The Associated Press that her father died from complications with his heart early...

Broadcast networks go for milk-and-cookies comfort this fall

NEW YORK (AP) — If provocative, psyche-jangling shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" are your taste, head directly to streaming or cable. But if you're feeling the urge for milk-and-cookies comfort, broadcast television wants to help.The upcoming TV season will bring more sitcom nostalgia in the...

Met says it has evidence Levine abused or harassed 7 people

NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Opera said in court documents Friday that it found credible evidence that conductor James Levine engaged in sexually abusive or harassing conduct with seven people that included inappropriate touching and demands for sex acts over a 25-year period.The Met...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Trump Jr. met with Mueller witness during campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump Jr. met during the 2016 campaign with a private military contractor and an...

The Latest: Venezuelans line up to vote in Sunday's election

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela (all times local):9:22...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a...

Love and fire: Text of Michael Curry's royal wedding address

WINDSOR, England (AP) — And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and...

Episcopal bishop Curry gives royal wedding an American flair

WINDSOR, England (AP) — Nothing quite captured the trans-Atlantic nature of Saturday's royal wedding as...

Markle's bridal gown work of Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller

LONDON (AP) — Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy is the master British designer behind the sleek silk...

Kevin Powell Special to CNN

Editor's note: Kevin Powell is the author of "Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and The Ghost of Dr. King: Blogs and Essays." E-mail him at kevin@kevinpowell.net, or follow him on Twitter @kevin_powell.

(CNN) -- The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would hardly recognize America in 2013, the 50th anniversary year of his world-famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The efforts of King and countless others have not only made it possible for Barack Obama to become the first black president of the United States, but also created unprecedented opportunities for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and virtually anyone who had previously been given a check that has, as King put it, "come back marked 'insufficient funds.'"

I personally cannot think of MLK Day without reflecting on my life as a product of post-civil rights America: I was conceived on the coattails of that movement to a single mother, absent father, horrific poverty, and despair and fear I would not wish upon anyone.

Yet here I am, a direct beneficiary of King's legacy. I do not take the opportunities given to me lightly. Especially since my mother, born in South Carolina in the Jim Crow-era, has sickening memories of the racial oppression back in those days. Her family had no electricity, no indoor running water and no television.

The day that King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, my mother turned 20. "We knew there was colored folks marching in Washington," my mother told me. "We just did not know what for exactly."

The what for had everything to do with democracy, freedom, voting and citizenship rights, for a group longed blocked from the doors of the American dream. It means the only way we could ever come to "a beautiful symphony of brotherhood" that King spoke of is for each of us, no matter our background, to honor and recognize who we are, including very uncomfortable parts of our history, like slavery, which was depicted in recent films like Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" and Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained." We cannot sit at the table of diversity and multiculturalism if we are not even clear what we are bringing to share.

In King's speeches and writings in the last years of his life, he wanted people, including black people, to embrace and appreciate their culture and heritage. But it was never an either or for him. King worked for and loved Black America, and he worked for and loved America.

From 1963 to the present, the United States. has changed dramatically. When I attended integrated schools, I remember sitting elbow to elbow with children of different races, something my mother could not have fathomed in her childhood dominated by "Whites Only" and "Coloreds Only" signs everywhere.

But the work is far from over.

I think King would be saddened that the poverty and economic disparities he fought against at the end of his life are still here. He would be outraged by the kind of racism that routinely profiles young black and Latino males and fills our nation's prison system with black and brown bodies.

He would be awestruck and angered by the visionless black leadership that has come to dominate black communities nationwide, more concerned with media moments and money than solutions. He would wonder how black culture has deteriorated from Harry Belafonte, Motown and Nina Simone to Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and reality TV shows that present utterly destructive black images.

I think he would be disheartened by the numerous wars that have occurred since Vietnam and by the fact that more than one million Americans have died by gun violence since he himself was shot and murdered in Memphis on April 4, 1968. And moreover, he would be very outspoken about how some Americans treat immigrants, and our inability to see their plights as great civil rights issues of our time.

But, King would smile broadly, in that way he did, as we witnessed the stunning rainbow coalition of Americans who voted Barack Obama into office in 2008, as a direct extension of King's prophetic dream.

Despite the historical significance of electing Barack Obama into the Oval Office twice, and the great victories we accomplished together as a nation in the past 50 years, King would urge us to continue his work since a lot more needs to be done.

The harsh reality is that Martin Luther King Jr. is never coming back. We have a federal holiday dedicated to him, we have the moral authority of his spoken and written words, and we have his mighty spirit hovering over our nation like an uninterrupted sheet of light. But I sincerely believe that if we are going to live up to the extraordinary vision of King, then we must open our hearts more to each other, as sisters and brothers, as part of the human family.

We know, as he knew, that love must be a living and breathing thing. In celebration of his legacy, let's keep in mind that service to others must become as natural to us as breathing, for the good of America and for the good of all of us.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Kevin Powell.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

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