MLK Day 2018

Here’s MLK Sr.’s entry in the 1935 Atlanta City Directory and a shot of the official planning map from the time with a large Ward “4”, the nearby original Morris Brown campus and a little stretch of the future Atlanta Beltline

Martin Luther King Jr.’s elementary school is “S.74” surrounded by Howell, Irwin, Randolph & Houston Streets. The building still stands and is getting a renovation to be a public school again! Here are two paragraphs from his 1958 masterpiece “Stride Toward Freedom”:

But it is still not too late to act. Every crisis has both its dangers and opportunities. It can spell either salvation or doom. In the present crisis America can achieve either racial justice or the ultimate social psychosis that can only lead to domestic suicide. The democratic ideal of freedom and equality will be fulfilled for all — or all human beings will share in the resulting social and spiritual doom. In short, this crisis has the potential for democray’s fulfillment or fascism’s triumph; for social progress or retrogression. We can choose either to walk the high road of human brotherhood or to tread the low road of man’s inhumanity to man.

History has thrust upon our generation an indescribably important destiny — to complete a process of democratization which our nation has too long developed too slowly, but which is our most powerful weapon for world respect and emulation. How we deal with this crucial situation will determine our moral health as individuals, our cultrual health as a region, our political health as a nation, and our prestige as a leader of the free world. The future of America is bound up with the solution of the present crisis. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of a faltering democracy. The United States cannot hope to attain the respect of the vital and growing colored nations of the world unless it remedies its racial problems at home. If America is to remain a first-class nation, it cannot have a second-class citizenship.

This is near the end of his description of the events in Montgomery and his suggestions for a path forward. Beacon press recently published a beautiful new edition of this powerful book.

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