Even though Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday (January 15) was declared a national holiday years ago, it increasingly feels like a holiday that many would rather overlook. It is a holiday that we’ve historically observed at indieWIRE and I attempted to take the day off from work, but it turned out that many in the film business decided to maintain business as usual. Numerous publicists called and emailed today, pitching Sundance projects and sending out press releases. A friend at a New York film company told me that it was a regular work day.
Following the death last week of Mark Rabinowitz’ mother Joanne Grant (a woman whose own work was at the heart of the struggle for racial equality dating back to the 60s), I’ve been reading more about the civil rights movement recently. And tonight I watched as CNN marked the birth of MLK, 76 years ago, by replaying in its entirety Dr. King’s speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. on August 28, 1963.
“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment,” King said on that day.
“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.