Stevie Wonder Remembers MLK
“I remember hearing Mahalia Jackson sing, I remember being on the bus or mobile home. There was no way possible for us to go inside to be at the actual service. I remember a man in a tree trying to see everything and he was crying and he fell out of the tree. I remember various actors, actresses and dignitaries on the bus with us. Some were able to get into the service and some were able to stand outside and view the service from a visual feed. I remember Aretha Franklin singing at the service.
As a teenager, I was very sad and brokenhearted that he was assassinated and I was still in disbelief that someone had done such a horrible thing. What breaks my heart even more today is that people are still fighting for the right to be treated as a human being.
‘Happy Birthday’ came to me in a dream where I heard the song, led the march and saw the holiday.
The next day I played the song from my dream and shared with [Mrs. King] my excitement and vision. Mrs. King liked the song but shared her concern that the politics of the day would not embrace my vision.
I was there in the Senate in Washington when it was unanimously voted to become a national holiday. The song became the anthem for the Holiday. It was the soundtrack for our marches, the legislative strategy sessions and the grass roots movements we led. The song became our fight song where we launched a petition campaign in congressional districts; the song became a victory song for the first-ever holiday mandated by the people. The song made it possible for Congress to pass the legislation and President Reagan to sign it into law. The song is now the reminder of what we can do, as a united people, no matter the opposition.
No one could fill the void of Dr. King. All we could do was continue to further his message of social, economic and civil justice for everyone.
My limiting all of the great speeches that Dr. King has done to my most favorite would be like me saying that I only have one favorite love song. I have to contend that all of his writings are dear to me because they are like steps of encouragement that motivates me to seeing his dreams for equality fulfilled.
[Dr. King] challenged America and the world to be a better America and world for humankind.”
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