MLK: Made in America: King’s Dream in Today’s Economy

Friday, January 14, 2011

As we face the harshest American economy in a generation, WNYC explores the contemporary lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work for economic justice. Hosts Brian Lehrer, Terrance McKnight and Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Perry lead a celebration for King and his work for equal access to the American dream at the Brooklyn Museum on Sunday, January 16 at 3:00 p.m.


Watch Obery Hendricks discuss King's economic vision.


Watch Melissa Harris Perry, Natalia Aristizabal and Christine Lewis discuss funding social movements:



Brian Lehrer- Host of WNYC's Peabody Award-winning The Brian Lehrer Show.





Terrance McKnight- The weeknight host of Classical 105.9 WQXR and his Saturday program, All Ears with Terrance McKnight, was recently honored with an ASCAP Deems Taylor Radio Broadcast Award.




Melissa Harris-Perry- Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges. She is also an award winning author and appears regularly on MSNBC and other media venues.



Roy Innis-National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality. He has been a member of CORE for almost 50 years. He is the author of "Energy Keepers Energy Killers: The New Civil Rights Battle." Mr. Innis serves on the boards of directors for many organizations, including The American Alliance For Better Schools, the National Rifle Association's Executive Committee, and the African American Fund For Higher Education.


Obery Hendricks- Dr. Obery Hendricks is Professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary, and Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in the Department of Religion and the Institute for Research in African American Studies. He is also an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for American Progress, and author of the award-winning "The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus' Teachings & How They Have Been Corrupted." Dr. Hendricks serves on the board of the Public Religion Research Institute in Washington, DC.


Natalia Aristizabal- Arts and media educator and youth organizer for Make the Road New York. She has devoted her career to helping young immigrants like herself establish themselves and find their way in a new culture. Her work with MRNY's Youth Power Project includes leading photography, mural painting, video and poetry projects. She also teaches Social Justice and Latin American History at MRNY's partner high school, Pan American International. She received a dual Bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies and Media Communication Studies from Queens College.

Peniel Joseph- Professor of history at Tufts University, and author of the award winning "Waiting Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America." He is a frequent national commentator on issues of race, democracy, and civil rights. Professor Joseph's essays have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and he was recently named an Emerging Leader in Ebony Magazine's Power 100 Issue. He is currently working on a biography of Black Power icon Stokely Carmichael/Kwame Ture.



Jeanne Theoharis- Professor of political science and the first internal Endowed Chair in Women's Studies at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She has written or co-written numerous articles and books on the black freedom struggle, including "Want to Start a Revolution?: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle," co-edited with Komozi Woodard and Dayo Gore. She is currently working on a biography of Rosa Parks.



Christine Yvette Lewis- A Jill of many trades, she is an organizer with Domestic Workers United, where she is also a member. She is a freelance journalist and reporter, and she co-hosts the show "Global Movement, Urban Struggles" on WBAI, 99.5 FM. Christine is a poet whose work is featured in the forthcoming anthology "Caribbean Erotic: Poetry, Prose & Essays." She is also a pannist, and her study Afro-Cuban dance keeps her on her toes.

Live Performances:

Maya Azucena- Award-winning Maya Azucena, a Brooklyn raised entrepreneur, producer, and singer/songwriter uses her music as a tool for activism and inspiration around the world. Ms. Azucena has earned comparisons to Chaka Khan and Roberta Flack with “story-telling lyrics and soulful soaring vocals” according to the New York Post and Billboard. She recently joined forces with Emmy-wining director, Lisa Russell to co-found, a global platform for improving maternal health. Maya Azucena is in her final stages of completing her new CD, “Cry Love,” designated for a February 2011 release.


Christian McBride with Melissa Walker- McBride is a bassist and composer, and Walker is a vocalist.


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Comments [3]

shadeed ahmad from New York City

Fear and assasinations have effectively shutdown the continuation of Doctor King's bold strides against the status quo. There are lots of intelligent people out in America, but much more often than not they opt to pretend to be eloquent about the issues Doctor King bravely went up against. Today's speakers and/or leader's are clandestine tools of the oppressors and refuse to be as bold as Doctor King. So-called popularity does not make for a authentic and sincere person speaking about the problems enslaving the masses. The leap of faith and true self-less engagement in relentlessly raising the consciousness of the world apparently was buried with the "Honorable" Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.

Today's glimmer of supposed eloquent speakers that are a dime a dozen, amount to no more than "check cashers." That is the limit of their hopeful engagement in helping the economic problems of the world. Even that depends on their ability to colorfully, pseudo-intellectually and cleverly enter our earholes with mimicry of the obvious cute talk of the times, devoid of the steps beyond that which Dr. King, Robert and John Kennedy and Malcolm X , earnestly paid with their lives for.

Even in a gesture of trying to raise to the glorious level of the true elite of leadership of days gone by, today's leaders appear rusty from their lack of honest engagement against oppression. However, as the clandestine arms and hands of oppression their check cashing skills are phenomenal. What does amaze me is that they still get attention from the public. Perhaps, in some cases it is a public that has ambitions of being a part of the check cashing job opportunities.

The human mind is an immensely beautiful phenomenon. When it is not comfy with brainwashing, for whatever reason(s), it can make speedy and creative changes in the directions it is going. We are on the eve of 2012. Let's boldly go where no "sell outs" have gone before and begin truly continuing and making, The Honorable Doctor Martin Luther King Junior's dream come true.

It is mandatory that we honor the Divine spark of light that is in each of us with respect and love, for in doing that we are worshipping GOD and consequently stepping out of the darkness of fear, oppression and chaos. Peace.....

Jan. 16 2011 03:00 AM
Clint Button from South Carolina

The MLK Foundation deliberately solicited $10Million from Congress in June 2005, raised the required matching $10Million in private funds in 8 months by Feb 06 and had all required documentation certified in Aug 2006. But the federal $10Million has remained in a protected federal account ever since (almost 4 1/2 yrs!) without explanation, other than to allow MLK Foundation to evade federal guidelines regarding open bidding on contracts and similar rules.

According to a Nov 14, 2008 federal investigation report, these funds remained unclaimed. At the same time, MLK Foundation required a $12.5 Million line of credit from WalMart to move forward with project approval. Between Nov 2008 and Jan 2011, MLK Foundation is still requesting $12Million in donations from the public, so appears to have only raised $500,000 over the same period of time.

Why won't MLK Foundation use the $10Million still waiting in Washington to close the remaining $12Million gap to complete this memorial? This is the question the public needs to ask. According to that federal report, they simply have not completed the paperwork.

Dr King demanded accountability from those in power for the obvious wrongs perpetrated against those not in control. Ms. Dorothy Height said, "We have to improve life, not just for those who... know how to manipulate the system, but also for and with those who often have so much to give but never get the opportunity." The MLK Foundation is doing exactly that- manipulating the system to improve their life while denying other real opportunity.

This is our National Memorial to Dr. King. As it stands, it is only a representation of what can be done- not what should be done.

Jan. 15 2011 05:47 PM
youngartone from Atlanta

A bit ironic to have a headline reading "MLK: Made in America: King's dream in today's economy," while the monument to this great man that will stand on our National Mall was made in China, with Chinese granite, using slave the same time quarries here in the US are laying off workers and shutting down, folk here are jobless and homeless, and King was murdered standing up for worker's rights.....Hmmmmm.

Jan. 15 2011 12:48 PM

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