Imagining King: The MC

The picture above shows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressing a crowd with a megaphone in Roxbury, a neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 22, 1965. 

I personally believe that there are different sides to every man and woman in the world. I don’t think that anybody is one way 100% of the time. You have different friends that you act differently around, you act differently around your parents or elders, etc. The point is, there are at least two sides to each person. The photo above represents Martin Luther King Jr, the MC. “MC” has many different ways of basically saying the same thing. “Master of Ceremonies,” “Microphone Controller,” “Mover of Crowds,” all of these are different labels you place on a man like King; when he gets behind a microphone to speak, you stop and listen. He is the master of the ceremony, the one controlling the microphone in order to move the crowd emotionally. I couldn’t have found a better picture to articulate this point. As long as he had a tool to project his voice, the crowd would stop to listen. He demanded attention from men and women both white and black, regardless of their occupation as well. It helps one further appreciate the speaker he was when you see him act as an MC from within the crowd and without a proper microphone.

The quote I found from the book of King’s sermons comes from The People Are Important:

“A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.” (242)

This idea of “preserving the best” in societies is something I think Paul Gilroy would agree with and suggests could happen. In chapter 2 of There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack, there is a section titled “‘race’, nation and the rhetoric of order.” Here, Paul Gilroy challenges Raymond Williams’ response to anti-racists about blacks being “as British as [the Brits] are” when Williams says “social identity is a product of ‘long experience’.” After dismantling the basis of Williams’s response, Gilroy asks:

“What happens when ‘social identities’ become expressed in conflicting political organizations and movements and when they appeal to the authority of nature and biology to rationalize the relations of domination and subordination which exists between them?” (Gilroy 50)

It is at this point when people have done the opposite of King’s quote; they’ve lost their loyalty to mankind as a whole, and they’ve lost the best in their societies.

To end this post, I quote powerful words from Dr. King from the same sermon, The People Are Important:

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter-but beautiful-struggle for a new world.

In the current state of the world now due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and many other issues that have been prevalent in the world for the past few months (even years depending on what you look at), it is clear that things have reached what feels like the lowest low. From the confines of our homes, we struggle with the thought of “will things ever go back to normal?” I believe the answer is no. The results of the pandemic and everything else have caused the world to forever change. Things may never be exactly as they were before, and that’s just the fact of the matter. What we can do, though, is power through. If we all power through this situation as a united front, doing what we can to minimize the damage caused by all this, we can get back a piece of what we once had. We have to struggle for now, but the end result for a new world will be worth it.

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