ATLANTA, Jan. 16, 2023 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Dr. Alveda King, she is available for comment:
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Around the country, all of the memorials and community service days will, for a few hours, unify the nation. Under the brilliant glow of my uncle's words and the memory of his actions, many Americans will set aside our differences and work together.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy is universally celebrated. Few figures in modern history collectively bring people of divergent views together. I may be biased because he's my "Uncle ML," but you have to be a truly miserable person not to appreciate the good that his living gave to the world. His legendary "one blood" (Acts 17:26) declaration of one human race still resonates.
When I think of the areas that influenced Uncle ML, I must consider the music that engulfed our lives and the family home on Auburn Ave. The music was rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel music tradition of the Black church is the playlist of my life. It was the playlist of my uncle's life. Gospel music derived from the hard struggle of the African-American community combined with the truth of scripture was a source of comfort and inspiration for my uncle; and remains the same for me today.
Our family has sacrificed many lives on the altar of justice for this nation. In 1974, my beautiful grandmother Alberta Williams King was assassinated as she sat at the church organ while playing "The Lord's Prayer." That was the same year I published my first song - Let Freedom Ring.
As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy, I want to look to the music that gave him courage in the darkest hours. Even on the day he was assassinated, the last request he made was to Ben Branch when he asked Branch to play Take My Hand, Precious Lord. His dear friend songstress Mahalia Jackson's recording of the song remains a classic today. It's quite possible that Branch already had that tune prepared to play that day because it was one of my uncle's favorites.
Many people are not familiar with the history of the song. Today it is celebrated and heralded around the globe. But it was not immediately accepted by the Christian community because of its roots. Take My Hand, Precious Lord was written by Thomas A. Dorsey, a musician who honed his craft performing blues and jazz. He rose to fame touring with Ma Rainey, who was not known for her wholesome concerts.
Like most extraordinary works of art, the song was conceived and born through tragedy. Dorsey wrote the song after he lost his wife to childbirth and his infant son within 24 hours.
The song speaks to the pain and anguish of a dark night that can only be conquered with God's hand. My uncle had many such nights and days as he worked to save the soul of America.
Already 2023 has brought my share of pain and anguish to my door. Two of my sweet "sisters in Christ"- Civil Rights icon Cleo Orange and freedom fighter Diamond (of Diamond and Silk) - have passed away. They will be missed. May God comfort and heal all of us who mourn. I find myself seeking comfort in prayers, scripture and favorite hymns.
In my book King Rules, I conclude with a chapter: If MLK Could Tweet. Today I honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with an addendum: If MLK Had a Playlist. Headlining this list is of course Precious Lord.
My upcoming album Freedom Melodies - to be released for Black History Month on February 3, 2023 - will highlight other favorites.
For a sneak preview, enjoy a fresh take on the 20th century Civil Rights anthem We Have Overcome.
Also, in tribute to the Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dream, I've covered The Impossible Dream. I am grateful that my Uncle M.L. taught us that, in God's hands, the Dream isn't so impossible after all.
The Impossible Dream - Alveda King Ministries
"I have a dream; it is rooted in the American Dream." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Finally my friends, today for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and the March for Life quickly following, I pray God's blessings for you and everyone. Let faith, hope and love guide you in the days ahead.
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About Alveda King: Alveda C. King, PhD, serves as Chair of the America First Policy Institute's Center for the American Dream. She is the daughter of the late slain civil rights activist Rev. A. D. King and the niece of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as a Christian evangelist; graduate of Aidan University; and is founder of SPEAK FOR LIFE, and ALVEDA KING MINISTRIES (www.alvedaking.com). Dr. King is also an acclaimed author, Fox News Channel contributor, Fox Nation host, NEWSMAX blog contributor, twice elected to GA State House, past presidential appointee, 2021 recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a film and music industry veteran.