Health lessons from Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

 

The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968.

His famous “I have a dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is  remembered, read, and recited by people all over the country if not the world on Monday January 16 every year .

The  United States observes the third Monday of January as a federal holiday in honor and memory of the birthday of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929)

 Health effects of violence

Dr. King’s life reminds us of the  tragic effects of interpersonal violence. His life ended suddenly and prematurely when, on April 4, 1968, an assailant shot him as he stood on a hotel balcony. He had delivered his last speech just the day before. The shooter was apprehended, and after confessing to the murder, sentenced to life in prison where he died.

Most people know of Dr. King’s assassination, but don’t know his mother, Alberta Williams King, also died violently. At age 69, sitting at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Mrs. King was shot and killed on June 30, 1974. Her  23-year-old assailant received a life sentence and died in prison.

Violence between persons creates social, economic and political problems, and serious medical consequences. It is a leading cause of death, especially in children, adolescents and young adults.

Non-fatal injuries often cause severe and permanent disability that changes lives, burdens families and increases medical costs astronomically. These include

  • TBI, traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries leading to paraplegia, quadriplegia, ventilator dependence
  • Amputations of limbs
  • PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder; other forms of anxiety; depression
  • Chronic pain, often leading to opiate dependence

Here is a previous post  about  why and how we need to address violence in our society .

Why we need to end violence and how to stop it

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.

Dr. King

Effects of health disparities

This observance also reminds us of the problem of health disparity. Health disparities are

preventable differences in illness, injury, violence, or access to health care that happen to  socially disadvantaged populations.

These populations can be defined by factors such as

  • race or ethnicity,
  • gender,
  • education or income,
  • disability,
  • geographic location (e.g., rural or urban),
  • sexual orientation.

Health disparities are directly related to the past and present  unequal distribution of social, political, economic, and environmental resources.

African-Americans frequently suffer health disparities and are more susceptible to certain disorders than other races. We doctors know our black patients experience more difficulty with these conditions in particular-diabetes, asthma, sarcoidosis, hypertension, stroke, and cancers.  Dr. King’s father, Martin Sr. ,died of a heart attack. His widow, Coretta Scott King, died of ovarian cancer.

Learn Why 7 Deadly Diseases Strike Blacks Most  from WebMD

You can learn more about Dr. King and listen to part of his famous speech at

Biography.com

"I have a dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Plaque honoring “I have a dream” speech by Dr. King , in Washington D.C. looking toward the Washington Monument

You can read the full text of the speech at

I Have A Dream….

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies,

education and culture for their minds,

and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.

Dr. King

The following book suggestions lead to affiliate links which may pay a commission to this blog at no extra cost to you. These commissions help me fund this blog.

A Testament of hope
<a href="http://A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.""” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>A Testament of Hope by Dr. King
strength to love
<a href="http://Strength to Love""” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>strength to love, written by Dr. King

a biography about Dr. King written for children

I Am Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am Martin Luther King book

Thank you for joining me to remember Dr. King. Please share this post and follow Watercress words where we explore and share the HEART of health.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. -words worth sharing

 

Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.

Isaiah 40:4-5

 

 

 

 

"I have a dream"

Plaque honoring “I have a dream” speech by Dr. King

On the third Monday of January, the United States observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as an official federal holiday.

The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His famous “I have a dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. will be remembered, read, and recited by people all over the country if not the world on Monday January 18.

 

“Martin Luther King’s commitment to nonviolent advocacy,  coupled with service, won the hearts and minds of many Americans. King’s public and civil advocacy,coupled with a willingness to serve the most vulnerable, brought genuine transformation. Though he did not possess all the markers of power, he brought doctoral-level training and broad cultural experience to his philosophical personalism and commitment to dignity of all people…as America’s most effective prophet…his  movement’s power was not in its social location but rather in its gospel commitment to truth, love and service. “

quoted from Gabriel Salguero,president of the National  Latino Evangelical Coalition, writing in Christianity Today ,November 2015

 

Last year I wrote a post about interpersonal violence and Dr. King’s life reminds us of its tragic effects. His life ended suddenly and prematurely when, on April 4, 1968, an assailant shot him as he stood on a hotel balcony. He had delivered his last speech just the day before. The shooter was apprehended, and after confessing to the murder, sentenced to life in prison where he died.

Most people know of Dr. King’s assassination, but don’t know his mother, Alberta Williams King, also died violently. At age 69, sitting at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Mrs. King was shot and killed on June 30, 1974. Her  23-year-old assailant received a life sentence and died in prison.

 

Violence between persons creates social, economic and political problems, and serious medical consequences. It is a leading cause of death, especially in children, adolescents and young adults.

Non-fatal injuries often cause severe and permanent disability that changes lives, burdens families and increases medical costs astronomically. These include

  • TBI, traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries leading to paraplegia, quadriplegia, ventilator dependence
  • Amputations of limbs
  • PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder; other forms of anxiety; depression
  • Chronic pain, often leading to opiate dependence

Here is the post from last year about  why and how we need to address violence in our society .

 

You can learn more about Dr. King and listen to part of his famous speech at this link at Biography.com

You can also read the full text of the speech at this link.

 

The following book suggestions lead to affiliate links which may pay a commission to this blog at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a biography about Dr. King written for children I Am Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am Martin Luther King book