This Year, King Couldn’t Give a King Day Speech

January 26, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

Inside Higher Ed

by Walter Kimbrough

January 26, 2021


I did something recently that I have never done before, something I never even considered I would do. I declined an invitation to speak for a Martin Luther King Jr. program.

As a preacher’s kid who grew up in Atlanta, someone who has met most of King’s lieutenants, I had long viewed every King Day invitation I received as a solemn responsibility. It was also an obligation to have the audience explore King beyond the traditional sound bites, so I prepared reading different speeches or looking for new passages in books by or about him.

So why did I decline this year? I didn’t do so because I had a schedule conflict, or that we couldn’t make the program work due to the risks associated with COVID-19. We found a date that worked, and I could speak virtually.

I said no because a governmental agency invited me. They sent me a speaker certification form, which reminded me that then-President Trump passed last fall an Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. I had never thought I would be confronted with it. The order prevents speakers from addressing what they call “divisive concepts,” as well as race stereotyping and scapegoating.

Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed

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