Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: A musical tribute


Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Monday, January 20, 1992, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday.

Twenty-four years after his assassination on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was honored with a national holiday (except for a few reluctant states including New Hampshire, which took another seven years to officially jump on board), the only federal holiday to honor an African-American. 

Here then, a humble musical tribute to Dr. King.

[jump] Nina Simone, "Why (The King of Love Is Dead)"

The legendary Nina Simone singing the gorgeous, down-to-earth song her bassist composed during the three days following Dr. King's assassination.

King's Last Speech Gets Auto-Tuned

Included here to illustrate the pointlessness of auto-tuning one of the most powerful and melodious orators in history.

Mahalia Jackson, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord"

A recorded version of the song Mahalia Jackson performed at King's funeral, reported to be his favorite.

Big Maybelle, "Heaven Will Welcome You Dr. King"

Big Maybelle's unrestrained, massive, and painful lament.

Soundtrack For a Revolution

Soundtrack For A Revolution, Danny Glover's musical tribute to Dr. King, is available on Netflix Instant right now (right here). Here's the trailer.

Hip-Hop, Carrying the Torch

Professor Todd Boyd talks to NPR about hip-hop's modernization of the civil rights movement, a thesis outlined in his 2003 book H.N.I.C., The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip Hop.

The Movement Revisited

And continuing their tradition of excellence in this department NPR (from 2009) shared the final, King-focused section of jazz bassist Christian McBride's hour-long work "The Movement Revisited" commemorating leaders of the civil rights movement.

"Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.