“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
So today is the 3rd Monday in January, a.k.a. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Since 2nd November 1983, when President Ronald Reagan signed a bill for the national holiday, Americans have celebrated a day designed to remember and celebrate the values promoted by the famous civil rights leader.
This year is particularly special – not least because Ava DuVernay’s Selma is released, but also because it is 50 years since MLK Jr. led his historic march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.
Celebrations to mark the occasion began yesterday, with some of Selma’s stars, including David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey, marching with hundreds of others as a tribute to the original march.
Elsewhere, US channel MTV will air in black and white for twelve hours and President Barack Obama will attend a community service project in Washington D.C.
“In 1959, a white American decided to turn himself into a ‘Negro’…John Howard Griffin would venture alone into some of the Deep South’s most virulently racist hotspots and experience life on the other side of the tracks…Black Like Me brilliantly reveals the dehumanisation of black people by the white majority…This reissued edition will introduce a whole new British readership to a work that is still an important, illuminating and fascinating read.”
Bernardine Evaristo, ‘The Times’
And if you haven’t already seen it, catch the Selma trailer here.