“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, my choice of muse is decidedly clear but I find myself equally drawn to the woman who inspired King, and who, after his death, lobbied for her husband’s birth date to become a day for all Americans to celebrate and remember.
Coretta Scott King said famously when she testified to Congress in 1979 in support of making his birthday a national holiday: “This is not a black holiday, it’s a people’s holiday,” but it was not until 1986 that President Ronald Reagan signed the day into law.
This Time article reminded me that Stevie Wonder joined with her and even wrote a song–”Happy Birthday” and helped gather millions of signatures to sway the Congressional vote.
There are so many seeds that the Kings, dedicated to social justice, planted and so this week I wanted to include a link to one literary legacy of Coretta Scott King: the awards in her name given annually by the American Library Association and celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year:
About the Coretta Scott King Book Awards: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2018/12/celebrate-50th-anniversary-coretta-scott-king-book-awards-2019
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
The awards serve as a guide for parents, librarians and caregivers, for the most outstanding books for youth by African American authors and illustrators that demonstrate an appreciation of affirm African American culture and universal human values. The Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream of a pluralistic society.
Check your local library for the award winners!
P.S. For a trip back to the airwaves of the 80s, here’s Stevie’s rallying song for Martin Luther King, Jr.