Dear Dr. King (Spoken Word)

Spoken Word Piece commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear Dr. King,

I can’t believe it’s been 50 years since you last walked upon this earth.

Although I know that every breath, every life is a borrowed gift from God, it would be nice to benefit from your continued wisdom and guidance.

But that’s alright.

Your life was a stream of light, guiding us in the direction of that which is good, righteous, and just.


Dear Dr. King,

Did you have any clue that you could become an icon for social justice all around the world?

Could you have known the impact of your legacy?

That a Southern Black minister from Atlanta could inspire millions around the world.

From a brave Pakistani girl named Malala Yousafzai to our first Black president Barack Obama.

Yes, we finally had a black president!

What was unheard of, downright comical in your time, has become a reality.

Because of you, children of all races and creeds know that they can fulfill their highest potential, because you showed us that it could be done.


But Dear Dr. King,

While some things have changed, some things have remained painfully, shamefully, the same.

Since you’ve been gone, there are those who want to whitewash you,

co-opt you, tokenize you,

soften you up to the point where you’re barely recognizable.

They wanna talk about how you were all for nonviolence and peace.

But what they don’t wanna talk about is how you taught us that there can be no peace without justice.

And these same feckless politicians, demagogues, and hucksters,

who try to remake your legacy into their own image…fifty years ago, wouldn’t even shake your hand.



They think slapping your name on a street or a building is enough to maintain your legacy.

“Let’s give him a day, sing Kumbaya,” and act like the fight for equality is over.


They don’t want you, Dr. King, the firebrand.

Dr. King the radical,

Dr. King who called out the hypocrisy of White Christian ministers who sat back and did nothing while their Black Christian brethren suffered.

Dr. King, the accused Communist, the troublemaking’ Negro

Dr. King who believed in a “radical redistribution of economic and political power.”

Dr. King who spoke out vociferously against the war in Vietnam,

Dr. King, who, towards his death, kept a book in his suitcase entitled “Black Power.”


No, they don’t want the real you.

The Dr. King who would have comforted us on September 11th but would have condemned military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Dr. King who would be on the frontlines in the war against mass incarceration and extrajudicial killings.

The Dr. King who preached against a bloated military budget that can “guide missiles but misguide the souls of men.”

The Dr. King who really understood what it would take to “make America great, and not great again.”



Dear Dr. King,

You’d be with the underpaid and overworked

With the survivors of school shootings,

With the communities plagued by gun violence.

With those fighting for affordable health care.


So in these dark days, in this political nightmare

where a certifiable sociopath sits in the White House,

I wonder what we can do?

How do we reach out to people so convinced of our inferiority and inhumanity simply because of the color of our skin, or the religion we practice, the language of our tongues?


I look to you. We look to you.

And you look back us…

Reaching out, handing us the torch

And I can imagine you saying,

“Did you really think the battle was over?”


So to honor your legacy, we have to take that torch

And carry on

continue the race

Because the fight for justice is a marathon

We gotta fight, we all must continue to fight!

But Dear Dr. King,

thank you so much for lighting the way