33 years ago…

Ronald Reagan proclaimed this day a national holiday to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. 43 years ago Mixed Blood was started, dedicated to the spirit of Dr. King’s dream. But 50 years after his death and 55 years after his Nobel Peace Prize, his teachings and preachings ring true.

For example, “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” So at Mixed Blood we pay positive attention to difference and bring people with difference together in the belief that all will be better off for having convened.

Did you know that Dr. King’s mother was also killed by gunfire, while playing organ at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1974, where King has preached? The assassin received the death penalty, but that was changed to a life sentence because the family didn’t believe in capital punishment.

Did you know that Dr. King considered becoming a Unitarian Universalist? He was on that path before believing that he would alienate the very people he hoped to move and inspire.

Did you know that Dr. King’s first name on his birth certificate was Michael? When he was five his father traveled to Germany and studied the Protestant Reformation leader and changed his name – and his son’s – to Martin Luther King.

The title of his 1955 Boston University dissertation thesis was “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”

Six years before his iconic oration at the March on Washington, King was among the civil rights leaders who spoke in the shadow of the Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, 1957. Before a crowd estimated at between 15,000 and 30,000, King delivered his first national address on the topic of voting rights. His speech, in which he urged America to “give us the ballot,” drew strong reviews and positioned him at the forefront of the civil rights leadership.

I channel Dr. King constantly. On leadership, he urged that “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.” We at Mixed Blood try to model a world that not necessarily is or has been, but a world that could be. That is our modest theatrical way of attempting to mold consensus.