1 of 11 King Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Martin Luther King, the Reverend, academic scholar and Civil Rights activist, practiced non-violence and civil disobedience to help change the existence of racial inequalities. In celebration of Dr. King, ESSENCE.com hit the streets of Harlem, New York, to speak to real people about remembering Dr. King. Some reflected, some shared quotes and some gave solutions. Also, enjoy a few photos of Dr. King and his family shared by the King Center in Atlanta.
2 of 11 Jenisha Watts
Profession: Marketing Consultant
“Dr. King means so many things to me. He really wanted to show that we can coexist as people, Black and White. I appreciate what he has done in that light. I look at Dr. King for inspiration because he opened the door for me as a Black man to walk into a top company to negotiate deals. I can be dressed down real cool with a cashmere sweater and a button-down or have a sweatsuit on. It is really about what I bring to the table in terms of intellect and my being. Those are a couple of things that I appreciate from Dr. King in terms of his legacy.”
3 of 11 The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Dr. King is a reminder to me of two components, leadership in the sense of somebody stepping out and taking an ordinary person and becoming an extraordinary person. There is a time when you need to step up to the plate and enter into your greatness. I think that is what Dr. King did. He stepped into a place of greatness. I think also that every great leader needs a movement. It is a reminder that we needed to create a modern day movement for our leaders. For example, Obama is a great leader but he needs a movement. This is what I think about when I think of Dr. King.”
-Sekou Luke, 31, photographer
4 of 11 Jenisha Watts
“Happy Birthday, Dr. King! You know he is part of the reason why I am extremely focused on getting an education. He has paved the way for all of us to want better for our lives. I am glad to be a part of this journey when it comes to keeping that power going. I would just like to say thank you Dr. King!”
5 of 11 The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Kings share quality time in their living room in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I think Martin Luther King Jr.‘s family was very empowering and inspirational. They moved the world through demonstrations of peace. I think Mrs. King was very strong and supportive of her husband’s activism in the world.”
-Ebonie Ware, 26, MSW graduate student
6 of 11 Jenisha Watts
“This day brings back the passion that they had back then during the Civil Rights movement. These days a lot of people are self absorbed and a lot of things that our parents and the generation before stood for, we forget about. Every year, this day comes around it reminds me of the fight and all the struggle that our ancestors have put forth.”
7 of 11
“The commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s birthday takes on so much more meaning for me this year with the Obamas in the White House. King’s dreams have truly been realized.”
-Genel Ambrose, 25, writer
8 of 11 Jenisha Watts
Profession: Media Consultant
“When I think of Dr. King, the first thing that comes to mind is this quote: ‘The time is always right to do what is right.’In order, to keep his legacy alive, I believe that we should constantly look inward.”
9 of 11 Jenisha Watts
“This holiday means more than just an opportunity to recognize what he has done. I think it really is an opportunity for us to reflect on ourselves about what he was really trying to share with the world. I think he stood for so many things about peace, understanding and sharing of information. Along with empowering other people to do better, so that is what I take away from it.”
10 of 11 Jenisha Watts
“He embodies everything good. What he means to me is constant change. He is really a big reason Obama is where he is today. And, for that I am forever grateful.”
11 of 11
“I had the honor of meeting Dr. King. He was a true model for my generation that had the sit-ins. Dr. King inspired us to reflect on ourselves as to who we were and what we wanted to do with our lives. Dr. King made us think about what the content of our character should be. When I shook that man’s hand I trembled because that was the man that we looked to for our deep inspiration and spiritual energy. He was God sent to show African Americans on how to live in a very racist, violent society on how to maintain our composure in America.”
-Tom Williams,69, retired project manager
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