It was January 15, 1981 at a massive concert-rally at the National Mall in Washington, D.C, and one king was about to sing happy birthday to another.
Stevie Wonder, a legendary singer and activist, had decided to launch an unsolicited musical campaign to add Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday to the list of national holidays. It was an effort started when Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) first proposed legislation for a commemorative holiday four days after King was assassinated in 1968, but it had been stalled for fifteen years.
Wonder, however, intended to sing it into law with a single he had written especially for the cause and we had his back.
The crowd was thicker than thick although the temperature was grazing thirty. Back on campus later, we would hear that there were tens of thousands in attendance, but we weren’t counting. Just noting that strangers were so close…
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