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Martin Luther King’s Dream is Being Fulfilled

With a poignant sonorous voice, Reginald Brunson recited Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. “Every Friday before the Martin Luther King, Jr.  Holiday, I recite the speech at South Kortright Central School,” said Brunson. “I also delivered the speech at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ceremony in Oneonta on Sunday.”

South Kortright Principal, John Bonhotal, includes Reginald Brunson as a regular guest to recite King’s speech every year at the school. The audience for the Friday production at South Kortright School consists of Kindergarteners through fifth graders. Students from the fifth grade participated with poster cards that illustrated a timeline. “Important events from 1929 to 1983 were written on each poster card,” said Azalyn Brunson, fifth grade student and introducer of Reginald Brunson.

Brunson stands before the listeners, commanding attention as he draws in his breath. The words are familiar yet so potent they require concentration. Brunson comes to the part of the eight minute speech, repeating with appropriate intonation: “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

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Martin Luther King Jr.

“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

“Every time I recite the speech, the audience has my attention,” said Brunson. “To touch hearts is my goal. I work with the fact that the audiences in upstate New York are non-minority.” Brunson grew up in South Carolina and was the minority. He remembers the signs clearly stating, “For White’s Only.” “There were seven of us kids in y family and at first we went to a segregated school.” Brunson was in the seventh grade when school segregation was diminished.

“Growing up in central South Carolina was totally different from growing up here in the north,” said Brunson. “There is no comparison and I chose to raise my kids in the north. They didn’t have to be exposed to the prejudices more common in the south. A lot of progress has been made, I love my country, but more progress yet needs to be made.”

Brunson and his siblings were growing up at the tail end of what is now known as The Great Migration, the relocation of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the West, Midwest, and North from 1916 to 1970. The Migration was one of the greatest numbers in history. African Americans left their homes to relocate where there were more satisfactory economic opportunities and less segregationist laws. The burgeoning industrial age was a resource for employment especially during the World Wars. The Great Migration came with problems however such as poor working conditions and competition for living space. Racism and prejudice still existed but African Americans began building their own niches of black urban culture that grew to exert enormous influence. “I remember the marches and the day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed,” said Reginald Brunson. “I was eight years old when I watched King die. I don’t forget it.” Years later, Brunson was asked to recite the “I Have a Dream” speech and he memorized it. “I don’t forget it,” said Brunson. “The words and meaning are in my long term memory to stay.”

“I’ve torn apart the speech, realizing what to emphasize,” said Burnson. “I’ve watched videos of Martin Luther King Jr. giving the speech.” Burnson utilizes his background in theater during the oration. He realized his love of theater while in High School. He went on to study accounting and theater at what is now Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Since moving to Hobart, he has been involved in many productions in and out of Delaware County. Plays of notice are: Witness for the Prosecution, Twelve Angry Men, and Out Town along with a one-man act at Franklin Stage.

“Martin Luther King Jr. had given the speech 5 or 6 times before the Washington D.C. event,” said Brunson. “I recite the final version which King had developed to a full power.” Martin Luther King Jr. gave the final speech August 28, 1963, fifty years ago this year. Brunson has given the speech at a multitude of places. “I will recite it next month when our family goes to Carolinas for vacation,” added Brunson who is scheduled to give the address in Charlotte, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, and his hometown of Sumpter, South Carolina.

“I’m excited to visit South Carolina, it’s been a while since we’ve been back,” said Brunson. “But, this is home. I love Delaware County. The people in Bloomville, Hobart, and South Kortright are the salt of the earth. They’ve always had my back and they are my family.” Reginald and his wife, Cynthia Hillis Brunson, have a home in Hobart. They have six children and three grandchildren. “I love them all,” adds Brunson.

A fulfilled promise to Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “I have a dream that my four 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.”

Gender-Bias Ban of 40 Years Ago

For all the people who bucked gender bias on the campuses of education, I thank you. Federal legislation, called Title IX, enacted 40 years ago today, directed schools to equalize opportunities and spending on men and women.

Forty years ago?!?!

I’ve been alive more than 40 years.

At the time this measure was being drafted, I was working on the family farm with Dad. I had 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Dad treated us all equal. I attribute his thinking to his religious beliefs and study of Christian Science, which promulgates a Father/Mother God, equality, and one intelligence available to everyone.

Dad taught me how to operate all the farm equipment right along with the guys. It was when I left home, that I came head to head with male-chauvinism. Thankfully, Dad taught me not to argue with it or try to prove discrimination wrong. I was to keep moving forward, keep appreciating those who struggled for equality, and keep fighting to do what I am capable of doing.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “Civil laws are implementing fairness and equity between the rights of the sexes, but more progress is needed, to say the least. Civilization and Science stand strong on the side of justice and encourage the elimination of discrimination, however, every time an effort is made to remedy unfairness, we must be alert that the effort doesn’t encourage difficulties of greater magnitude. Higher aims and motives, as well as improved mental character, must be considered as the feasible and rational means of progress.”

The Trademark of Christian Science has gone Universal

There is a trend in society. We are becoming more generic in the sense of being universal, all-purpose, common yet broad and basic.

We aren’t into brand names as much.

A brand is a trademark, a marker, or label.

Clothing, perfume, food, furniture, places, and religion are branded.

In the past, brand names had a prominent hold in society. A brand was used to define us or tell others who we want to be. Brand names give off an air of “quality control.” But, branding is no longer lucrative. Branding is dead or dying. Most of us don’t want to be branded, we don’t want to advertise for someone else. We go generic.

What was previously cherished as a symbol has been exposed as nothing more than a stamp of human approval or disapproval. Humanity is advancing past the branding mentality because it has little to do with reality. God.

For example, the brand name, Christian Science, had clout decades ago but is no longer stamped in consciousness. However, Christian Science is nothing more than a brand name. Christian Science is only a term for the law of God and its interpretation to humanity.

Trademark of not, the law of God is still valid, powerful, even under a generic term.

Therefore I revised the Christian Science textbook Science and Health (first written in the 19th century), with this in mind. The law of God is expounded on with generic terms relevant to today. Even if we still cherish a symbol, trademark, or brand name, the power of a healing, hope-giving, life-installing God is still successful and available to us all, generically.

Press Release for 4th Edition of 21st Century Science and Health

21st Century Science and Health 4th Edition Released Today

April 20, 2012 – Cheryl Petersen has released the 4th edition of 21st Century Science and Health to shine light on the timeless law of Truth and Christ-like mindfulness that reveal modern day answers. The book is online at Trafford Publishing in softcover. The e-book format will be available in a few more weeks.

Science and Health is adapting to the times while remaining true to the core values of illuminating God, the  universe and our spiritual abilities. The reader is encouraged to keep pace, not with human society, but with Life, Truth, and Love. An index has been added to 21st Century Science and Health. The book can be found online at Trafford Publishing

Visionaries Work Together

The book, Fraternity, by Diane Brady, is intriguing me. In 1968, after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., a visionary priest, Father Brooks, recruited 20 black men to the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts in an effort to materialize Dr. King’s dream of an integrated society. However, seeing that dream become a reality required stamina, bravery, and forethought from not only the young men but also the schools leaders.

The black students found themselves naïve to the rigorous demands and cultural challenges on campus. Moreover, the Holy Cross leadership found itself ill-equipped and unprepared to leave behind the status quo representing bias and racism.

Father Brook initiated and nurtured give-and-take discussions. It became obvious that the school curriculum was irrelevant to black students. Traditions, borne in the era of segregation, were offensive. The students wanted to be educated in the art of being a whole man. They didn’t want to be conformed to the white man’s ways and beliefs.

It was a turbulent time. But, the school went on to produce some outstanding figures. I look forward to finishing the book.

March Spotlight on Women

In the United States, the innovation, bravery, courage, and determination of women are being celebrated during March’s Women’s History Month, to ensure a collective progressive attitude toward women. Circa 1792, Mary Wollstonecrafts wrote a book called, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.” It was the beginning of a long battle.

In 1893, New Zealand granted women suffrage on the national level. Australia followed in 1902, but American, British, and Canadian women did not win the same rights until the end of World War I.

Modern women reflect on History, for example, Linda Wilson, upstate New York resident, recalls Eleanor Roosevelt, Inez Cole, and Caperton Preston, saying, “These women don’t inspire me in a specific way to ‘do’ something specific in life. Rather they inspire my realization that women can forge their own path,” says Linda Wilson, who was reared during the 1940’s and 50’s when women were seen primarily as wives-mothers-nurses-teachers. “Women should never let a cultural norm prevent them from taking a path that runs against the cultural grain.”

Wilson not only described to me the accomplishments of Roosevelt, Cole and Preston, but also added a funny side-note related to Preston, showing women are noteworthy yet practical loveable human beings.

At the age of 88 years, Miss Preston had the physique and posture of a young woman. Miss Preston also taught Linda the word “jackass.” Linda was 5 years old at the time and during a dance class, Miss Preston protested, “Point your toe, you jackass!” Linda went home delighted with the new word and called her mother a jackass. Her mother asked Linda where she learned such language. “Miss Preston,” the child answered. Linda received a spanking for lying and she began crying. When Linda’s father came home, the story came out. Her dad replied, “Linda isn’t lying. That is how I learned that word.” Linda’s dad had taken ballroom dancing from Miss Preston as a teen. He accidentally tripped Caperton and she fell to the floor and said, “Get me off this floor, you jackass!”

The mental landscape of equality still needs leveling and developing, but we can do it.

Positive Deviance and Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr., another individual who lived up to a standard far surpassing what the common human mind could envision, even while hate, fear, self-righteousness, and stupidity tried to defeat his emphatic trust in love, justice, forgiveness, and wisdom.

But, courage, bravery, positive deviance, and insight have their Day.

Although the jealous and myopic minded may belittle Martin Luther King Jr., even thinking someone else would have done a better job of advancing the human rights movement, the bottom line is: no one else did lead. No one else did what needed to be done. Other leaders were busy busy busy defending the quickly dwindling territory they owned. Fortunately, many of those very leaders got their act together, dropped their agendas, and supported Martin Luther King Jr.

The human rights movement is not dead and certainly not reached a pinnacle. Because human beings have a habit of balking at positive deviances, God sent Christ-spirit to embolden humanity to act on that which God manifests: fairness, integrity, health, humor, purpose, activity, newness, and so on.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “A person’s gaze, fastened fearlessly on a ferocious beast, often causes the beast to retreat in terror. By meeting hateful prejudice with fearless love, Martin Luther King, Jr.[1] sent hate to its own defeat. These occurrences represent the power of Truth over error. Exercise the power of intelligence, to displace unintelligent behavior.”

[1]Luther King Jr., Martin (1929–1968) American Civil Rights Leader.

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