105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: MLK Jr. Kinda Poetry

At the library yesterday, I put together a display for Black History Month. Imagine, if you will, two large blocks, one smaller and on top of the other. Around the sides of the small block, I taped black paper and a print-out of kente cloth that I found online. I had to print ten copies of it and cut it out and tape it together and then tape it on the black paper, but it looked pretty good when it was done.

On the larger block, I taped up the printed words I HAVE A DREAM TODAY on one side. On the other three sides, I taped up quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech. When I saw the words printed out and glued onto black paper to set them off, I was moved all over again by the phrases. And though they are not technically poetry, I’d like to use them for this Poetry Friday, the first one of Black History Month. Indulge me.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up
and live out the true meaning of its creed:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident:
that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia
The sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners
will be able to sit down together
at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that my four little children
will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.
I should mention that I skipped one line about the state of Mississippi — because remember, I only had three sides to work with on the display pyramid. The whole speech, including video, is available at American Rhetoric. The Poetry Friday round-up is with Karen Edmisten.

This month, I’ll be checking in at Twenty-Eight Days Later, a Celebration of Children’s Literature over at The Brown Bookshelf. I urge you to do the same. If you’re looking for poetry books, let me suggest a visit to Wild Rose Reader. Actually two visits. I’ll be writing about my favorite picture books for Black History Month over at Foreword on Monday and Friday next week. Yes, I’m a guest blogger and I couldn’t be prouder.


tanita✿davis said...

Check you out, blogging all famously in other venues!

I still love the lyricism and musical cadence of the ...sermons of MLK, Jr., and I think they make perfectly wonderful poems.

Anonymous said...

It makes a perfect poem, MR. I'm glad you thought to present it that way!

Karen Edmisten said...

Oh, yes, I've always thought of those words as poetic! Great post.

And how I love your profile words. Something between. Indeed.

Vivian Mahoney said...

No need to indulge here. Great words make for beautiful, inspirational poems.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks for the links to my posts at Wild Rose Reader about children's poetry books recommended for Black History Month. I look forward to finding out your favorite pictures books for BHM.

Martin Luther King, Jr., certainly was an eloquent and inspiring speaker.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great display!