Tip for Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Find authentic ways to celebrate

·2 min read

Happy Saturday, fam!

As promised in last week's newsletter, I have more to say about Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the current mischaracterization of his legacy.

While writing my most recent column, I've come to understand that Martin Luther King Jr. is one of many great American icons whom we have taken for granted. The constant use of his work without a clear understanding of what Dr. King said and when, where and why he said it, is a clear indication of our selfish society.

My column is this week's featured essay and I invite you to read it. It's honest and real commentary about MLK Day and how Americans who use Dr. King's legacy for political purposes are tarnishing his legacy.

I also want to relay how you can celebrate MLK's legacy with sincerity. So, here's a do's and don't list for celebrating MLK Day. I've condensed this list from suggestions by Learning for Justice, an education project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Do's:

  • Search for events happening in your area that celebrate Dr. King's legacy. Most universities and educational institutions hold special events.

  • View a movie about Dr. King's life with friends and family and have an open and honest conversation after.

  • Go beyond the "greatest hits" of speeches and writings of Dr. King. Search the Internet for speeches not often read in their entirety.

  • Take the day to see how what social issues and causes you are interested in. Honor Dr. King by doing what he did: Create change.

Don'ts:

  • Don't quote MLK without first doing research on where the quote came from or the context in which he said it.

  • Don't assume your Black friends are historians of Dr. King's work. Celebrate with them on a level ground.

  • Don't put MLK's work in a box. He stood for more than just black-and-white issues.

  • Don't limit Dr. King's work to just the classroom, the federal holiday or Black History Month. Keeping his legacy alive and authentic takes more than one or two days out of the year.

Here's what else you'll find in this week's newsletter:

That does it for me.

Thank you all for always showing up to support the newsletter.

Until next Saturday!

LeBron Hill is an opinion columnist for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee and the curator of the Black Tennessee Voices newsletter. Feel free to contact him at LHill@gannett.com or 615-829-2384. Find him on Twitter at @hill_bron or Instagram at @antioniohill12.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tip for MLK Day: find authentic ways to celebrate