Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A memory of E. Lynn Harris

Its devastating when we lose an icon. I know that not everyone was as effected by the death of Micheal Jackson as I was but I felt as if we had grown up together. And now a few weeks later we have lost another icon. E. Lynn Harris's Invisible Life has been and continues to be required reading for every black gay man that I know. He was the first to tell our stories in colorful rich paint strokes that did not confine us to non spiritual, over sexed, dancing and jiving common stereotypes often found in black literature. His life instilled pride and he taught us that yes indeed we had a black history as well as a gay history. I remember being overjoyed and excited when he came to Indianapolis for a book signing. Afterwards he signed copies of his latest book, "This Too Shall Pass". He signed a copy for me and I am going to go home tonight and tear my house up until I find it!! One of our heroes is gone...may he rest in peace.


Remembering my friend and dear fraternity brother E. Lynn Harris

Much has been said about the death--the passing--of my good friend and fraternity brother, E. Lynn Harris. I am certain much more will be.

What you can learn from this latest death is that--again--life is so precious and so short. First Michael Jackson at 50, now Lynn at 54. What gives?

I came to know Everette Lynn Harris when I was a television news reporter in New Orleans and working on my first nonfiction book project back in 1994. My co-author and I met him during a book signing at a New Orleans East book shop where he was autographing his new book Invisible Life. We told him about a book project we were beginning work on. He agreed to talk to us and give us some advice whenever we came to Atlanta to visit. We did a several months later, and Lynn kept his word and we met in the now defunct Oxford Books shop on Peachtree Street and thus our friendship of some 15 years began.

Over the course of those years, Lynn would become the prolific writer that we all knew him to have been. I would pen a book about the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and my coauthor also would write a self-help book for black men. Like so many other authors, Lynn played a special role for us as mentor, friend, and advisor. He made sure to introduce us to the "players" in the New York publishing world.

When I heard that Lynn had died, I really wanted to believe it was some terrible joke someone was playing on the Internet. My hope was dashed as I began surfing the net and the traditional news sources for confirmation.

So now, like millions of others, I am left with reflecting on good times shared with a loved one lost. From having fried chicken in his Chicago condo at the end of a BookExpo convention with close friends, to visiting his wonderful new Atlanta home on Peachtree Street to celebrate and promote a new novel by our friend Dr. Ian Smith, (view image) to just chatting on AOL from time to time, or in our professional capacities with me interviewing him as the morning news anchor on CBS Radio's WAOK-AM radio in Atlanta, or moderating an E. Lynn Harris Q&A session (view image) with the listeners of our station and sister station V103.

Lastly, not only did I always boast that Lynn was born in Michigan, but he like fellow author Eric Jerome Dickey, is my Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity brother. Though he did not mention it publicly a lot, he cherished being a member of Alpha, and always took pride in being a founder and president of the chapter at his beloved University of Arkansas. His son too, is an Alpha man. I hope my brothers will take note of this terrible loss and remember him appropriately. He was our generation's breakthrough black-male author with more than four million copies of his books in print. And, along with Dickey, the only Alpha man in our fraternity's 103 year history to become a 10-time New York Times bestseller. He is now a member of--what we call in our fraternity--Omega Chapter, the chapter of sweet rest.

For all of us this is just a mind-numbing loss. Even for those whose faith is strong and who are true believers, it is still hard to realize that Lynn's life story was well written before he was born. Only the Master Writer knew when it would begin, how the chapters would evolve, and how--and when--it would end.

Godspeed E. Lynn Harris. Thank you for all you did while you were here. It will never be forgotten.

Rick Blalock, a two-time Emmy-winning journalist and author, is a native of Highland Park, Michigan and lives in Georgia.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gay is not the new Black


Far from flowing rainbow flags, the sound of Lady Gaga and, quite honestly, white people, stands a nightclub just outside of Wicker Park in Chicago, Illinois, by the name of The Prop House.

The line to get in usually stretches down the block, and unlike many of the clubs in Boystown and Andersonville, this one plays hip-hop and caters to men who may or may not openly identify as gay, but without question are black and proud.

And a good number of them are tired of hearing how the gay community is disappointed in President Obama, because they are not.

In recent weeks, one would have thought the nation's first black president was also the nation's biggest homophobe. Everyone from Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black and radio personality Rachel Maddow to Joe Solmonese, the president of Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest gay advocacy group, seem to be blasting Obama for everything from "don't ask don't tell" to Adam Lambert not winning American Idol.

In their minds, Obama is not moving fast enough on behalf of the GLBT community. The outcry is not completely without merit -- the Justice Department's unnerving brief on the Defense of Marriage Act immediately comes to mind. I was upset by some of the statements, but not surprised. (After the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, President Ronald Reagan's initial handling of AIDS and, more recently, Katrina, there is little that surprises me when it comes to the government and the treatment of its people.)

Still, rarely has criticism regarding Obama and the GLBT community come from the kind of person you would find standing in line at a spot like The Prop House, and there's a reason for that.

Despite the catchiness of the slogan, gay is not the new black.

Black is still black.

And if any group should know this, it's the gay community.

Bars such as The Prop House, or Bulldogs in Atlanta, Georgia, exist because a large number of gay blacks -- particularly those who date other blacks, and live in the black community -- do not feel a part of the larger gay movement. There are Gay Pride celebrations, and then there are Black Gay Prides.

There's a popular bar in the heart of the nation's capital that might as well rename itself Antebellum, because all of the white patrons tend to stay upstairs and the black patrons are on the first floor.

Last year at the annual Human Rights Campaign national fundraiser in Washington, D.C. -- an event that lasted more than three hours -- the only black person to make it on stage was the entertainment.

When Proposition 8 passed in California, white gays were quick to blame the black community despite blacks making up less than 10 percent of total voters and whites being close to 60 percent. At protest rallies that followed, some gay blacks reported they were even hit with racial epithets by angry white participants. Not to split hairs, but for most blacks, the n-word trumps the f-word.

So while the white mouthpiece of the gay community shakes an angry finger at intolerance and bigotry in their blogs and on television, blacks and other minorities see the dirty laundry. They see the hypocrisy of publicly rallying in the name of unity but then privately living in segregated pockets. And then there is the history.

The 40th anniversary of Stonewall dominated Gay Pride celebrations around the country, and while that is certainly a significant moment that should be recognized, 40 years is nothing compared with the 400 blood-soaked years black people have been through in this country. There are stories some blacks lived through, stories others were told by their parents and stories that never had a chance to be told.

While those who were at Stonewall talk about the fear of being arrested by police, 40 years ago, blacks talked about the fear of dying at the hands of police and not having their bodies found or murder investigated. The 13th Amendment was signed in 1865, and it wasn't until 1948 that President Harry S Truman desegregated the military. That's more than an 80-year gap.

Not to be flip, but Miley Cyrus is older than Bill Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell." That doesn't mean that the safety of gay people should be trivialized or that Obama should not be held accountable for the promises he made on the campaign trail. But to call this month's first-ever White House reception for GLBT leaders "too little too late" is akin to a petulant child throwing a tantrum because he wants to eat his dessert before dinner.

This is one of the main reasons why so many blacks bristle at the comparison of the two movements -- everybody wants to sing the blues, nobody wants to live them.

This lack of perspective is only going to alienate a black community that is still very proud of Obama and is hypersensitive about any criticism of him, especially given he's been in office barely six months.

If blacks are less accepting of gays than other racial groups -- and that is certainly debatable -- then the parade of gay people calling Obama a "disappointment" on television is counterproductive in gaining acceptance, to say the least. And the fact that the loudest critics are mostly white doesn't help matters either.

Hearing that race matters in the gay community may not be comforting to hear, but that doesn't make it any less true.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Celebrating! I have decided to go to Acapulco next summer. 11 months to scuplt a beach ready bod!!! Watch Out There Now!!

Power and Presence,
Robert Ferguson


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and
convenience, but where he stands in times of challenges and controversy."

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thank You, Michael


Recently, my daughter turned seven, and a week later I realized I was late with a very specific gift. It had occurred to me that she was ready for the Jackson Five, and I hurried to buy her the perfect CD of her own. For most of the days since, we as a family found ourselves dancing hard and purposefully to a lot of the classics, but especially "Maybe Tomorrow."

It took me a few times to get it. Then I realized that at a certain point in the song, the melody rises into a late-breaking chorus full of the sweetest soul. "You are the book that I read each day," they sing. "You are the song of my life. Let me sing it to you." There you hear a pure and uncomplicated Michael singing with his big brothers, leading yet surrounded and protected by them. Just as I'd hoped, it became my daughter's and mine, her voice like Michael's, mine like the brothers.

Then suddenly Michael Jackson died. Very quietly, he slipped away forever. I was caught having to explain to my daughter and myself the meaning of a tired soul. It meant revealing the okey doke the world played on the words and deeds that made him a soldier of love. It meant recalling where I was and what I was doing during these last forty years. His work spans at least three musical generations, before and after his own. I am his generation--the Obama generation, actually--and it means reckoning with the seasons of life someone our age has come to know. I decided to start with his voice.

Very few were as beautiful, ranging and mellifluous. His voice is one of those singular talents with its own tonal signature like Aretha's or Marvin's, Frank's or Stevie's. Yet few tried to enjoy so many different percussive ticks, scats and word sounds. It will take us a long time to catalogue how many vocal phrases and expressions Michael Jackson coined for what appeared to be the sheer fun it. (What the heck was "Jamon!" and why didn't he ever feel compelled to explain the word?) Not since James Brown's breaths has a performer owned so many hiccups and hollers, usually in falsetto whoops. And most of them emerged when he peaked, at Thriller.

Thriller is the cut-off because the world of people over 40 or so is probably divided between those who fell in (or made) love to Michael Jackson's voice and those who didn't. The love songs on Off the Wall and Thriller will remain part of the lingua franca of a generation's ripened desire. On songs like "Human Nature" and "Can't Help It," Michael conveyed all the hush and hope, the gush and whisper of a heart in full bloom, maybe for the first time.

For young ladies, "The Lady in My Life" was the song of a thousand plays and wishes; for men, an anthem of how one hoped to bring his rapture. I don't exaggerate. This was the very early 80s, still the 70s really, and it was then perfectly OK to feel with all of oneself. We would learn cynicism and cool contempt shortly. In fact, in each year since about 1985 it has been progressively more difficult for a male vocalist to express deep love, tenderness or commitment. Because Michael--who had already freed our spirits to dance--did it so perfectly, at the height of his own innocence, he had a pass to continue as long as he lived.

And that's why the vocal changes after Thriller are so meaningful. All of a sudden this sweet naïf with the electric flesh and the tremulous voice had grown a pirate's rasp and brogue. Proclaiming he was "bad" and "dangerous" when clearly he was anything but, Michael insisted on interrupting his honey tones with a ripping adult gruffness. This was the man who made the day blue, the sound of sunshine. Why was the 140-pound owner of Neverland pretending such toughness? Like a lot of songs he did in the 90s and on, it just didn't make sense.

Stuff was clearly happening at home. While I was grooving with all the swerve I could muster, while folks on dance floors across the planet were doing their best to dig into his beats (like you knew he did), Michael Jackson stumbled into adulthood. First he got burned up in the Pepsi commercial. Beyond the unfortunate Jheri-curl, there were other injuries. He soon began to transform before our eyes. Imperceptibly at first, then as the years went by, undeniably, Michael was turning whiter, his nose was shrinking, his cheeks were doing something. There was clearly a struggle going on for his racial identity, yet he seemed to be waging it against himself. The dimple in his chin became a bullet hole, his hair a Clairol Girl's, and the Glove came on.

With anyone else the Glove would have gone the way of the fedora. But the Glove was a mime's entre into some of the greatest dancing any of us will ever see. If you were there to watch the Motown 25 Special at which he first performed the moonwalk, the magnificence of the moves shooting through his body was unmistakable. His kicks alone would make Bruce Lee proud. His shoulders as syncopated as a Max Roach fill. But the hand, with that white Glove on it, always seemed to know exactly what it wanted to do with the air. Watching Michael Jackson dance you just didn't breathe so much.

I happened to be much too along with serious life to spend a lot of time with the other signs of sadness that, like the changing of his appearance, began to emerge from his private life. I heard about the failed marriages. The New York Post dubbed him "Jacko," its own abbreviation from "Wacko Jacko," which was apparently OK to keep saying. Because he was not quite as ultra successful, he was being taunted as a joke. He had all the money in the world, but he was spending it like a kid. At the same time, it was hard to know if the music was any good. Bad drum machines and cheesy keyboards dominated. They liked it in Japan, which may not have helped. Sometimes he looked desperate. But in reality, I now believe he was unprotected. Things that should have been solid for him were not. And he was being laughed at.

Meanwhile, chances were that if you happened to buy a Michael Jackson CD or attend a concert from about 1984 onward, a large chunk of the proceeds was going to a charity--usually a charity benefiting children in the most fragile states. It turned out that Michael Jackson was not just spending time with children, he was visiting them in cancer wards, hosting their last days at his amusement park, buying hospital wards or airlifting food to them. He took sick strangers to dinner and watched movies with them. Among his causes were terminal illnesses like cancer and (then) AIDS, child abuse and starvation, burn victims, education for underprivileged students, orphans, wild animals, gang warfare, disease immunization and abject poverty.

He spent time and money in India, Germany, England, Italy, the Philippines, the former Yugoslavia, Taiwan, throughout Africa and all over the United States. His love was global well before we knew globalism. Sure, his public orchestration of the celebrity song "We Are the World" was very nice and a little corny. Yet it paled compared to his private sense of responsibility to vulnerable others, giving an estimated $300 million of his own earnings in his lifetime. He dared not tell us how much the world hates children by its policies. Instead, by his own acts of courageous giving, he tried to show us.

Pause to consider the artistic challenge he imposed on himself at the same time. Social conviction is real hard to express as musical genius, yet listen to "Earth Song." Every great artist deserves one of these. Released just two years ago, it's about global warming. Michael straight rocks the chills up your spine. The melody should go down in history as just fine. Inside it his voice whispers, trembles, screams, then sails. The "whoos" on 3 are perfect accented vocal crash cymbals just showing you he gets it. He understands that it is better to dance to outrage than to merely discuss it with friends. The lyrics are only deep enough to tell you where the feelings are, and you already know the feelings. You just never knew that global warming sounded so good. To join such feeling with a cause--to even try--could not have been easy. It is exactly what we need now in order to keep avoidable issues in our heads. It came from an artist who, despite radical changes in the business of recorded music, maintained the best of soul music traditions--message and innovation--while building new ones--total artistic control and expanding the boundaries of humanitarian "pop."

I did not know all these details at the time. Like a lot of people I watched Michael from the covers of supermarket tabloids and snippets of celebrity "news." His skin color and cosmetic machinations, like his crotch-grabbing antics and marital inconsistencies now appear as a rather intriguing defiance of traditional categories--racial, gendered, parental, even fame. While propelling the lucrative careers of countless journalists, doctors and lawyers (not to mention dancers, singers and composers), Michael Jackson was rarely allowed his difference nor seen for the full range of his gifts to us. This will tire the soul of any human being, but I imagine the pain is compounded for many artists. To have so much of your personality appropriated in a cash flow of casual hatred while attempting--almost always--to contribute ever more of your creative talents to a public good must burn like nothing known.

Because of all the scary difference we did not understand, Michael Jackson risked becoming a commodity no longer fit for mass consumption. I have friends who, like so many public commentators, are sure he was a pedophile, transgender, gay, racially self-loathing, and had no business bearing children whose birth certificates stated the word "none" under mother. They know these things even though the allegations either could not be proved, were not proved or are simply irrelevant. They concern themselves still. I cannot. I cannot know, so I cannot judge. I must trust the acquittal and go on to wonder about what else I don't know. I know very little about transgender lives, or superstardom, or being the victim of child abuse, or vitiligo, or addiction to painkillers. Perhaps it is time I learn, just as we as a nation are learning about why there is a T in the acronym LGBT, the parental rights of gay couples who adopt, conceive children through surrogacy or those who seek marriage. But I do know that Michael Jackson's degree of difference, whatever its make-up, is never tolerated for long in our official culture. And I know that all the questions--every last one of them--would be answered differently by people who know just as little if he had been a woman.

Of course, not just the doubts but the hating, fueled by the parasitic publicity industries, may ultimately define Michael Jackson's legacy. And that's the okey doke. No sooner had we learned that Michael was angry about the childhood he missed at the hands of an abusive and exploitative father than his relationship with children surfaced. I am not an apologist for molestation, but I was never convinced he was a molester. What was clear was that he was a man who deeply loved children and the innocence of their company. He coveted them as a father and a friend. That devotion was not balanced by a trust or closeness with adults, so, like the monkey and the amusement park, it stood out for its difference. Settlements are not admissions of guilt, especially for famous people hoping to preserve some privacy (a fact known to plaintiffs). For me, the better evidence was his naive willingness to go on television and defend his conduct. Ill-advised people do such things, but not child molesters. His reclusiveness never hid his honesty, and his genius was never slick. It seemed he could not believe not being believed. This as much as anything else might explain why such a gentle man wore those odd military outfits. If I'm right then he was a soldier of love in an army of one.

Nothing seemed to take its toll like the criminal trial at which Michael Jackson was finally acquitted. Any litigation is excruciating. It's a good way to kill someone, and by 2003 Michael Jackson had become a target. The now-forgotten facts about his accuser's family, character and motives are truly incredible. The trial may have been the beginning of the final blow to Jackson's soul. Afterwards he seemed ruined, not relieved. His withdrawal was exile to a cloistered fatherhood I think I as a father can understand. I just wish it had been more fulfilling. I wish he hadn't felt compelled to undertake a "This Is It" tour of final exasperation. Like so many black jazz musicians of the 50s and 60s, I wish he had gone overseas and never come back.

The man was done but not yet finished off. The finish will be the okey doke for which our country is famous. All that public hating by powerful "news" organizations may achieve the final irony. Instead of teaching about how a gift can be the vehicle for overcoming pain and finding new and different ways to join with one's world, Michael Jackson goes down a pervert, a drug addict and a freak. A man devoted to rescuing kids from the kind of pains he understood could be forever cast as a destroyer of children. A man fleeing to the ends of the earth for sanctuary, a battered body so fearful of illness that he would have a doctor's care in his house with him, would nevertheless die young and unprotected there. We are thereby relieved of the challenge of his goodness and may go on creating more casualties.

There are many who could care less, I know, but I prefer to join the millions off camera, dancing, leaving flowers and still listening to Michael. I will tell my daughter that here was a brave and special boy who loved very deeply and who for many magnificent years managed to share his gift and fill our lives with unimaginable joys both simple and complicated.

I was lucky to grow up alongside him. As he grew into a man, he covered his generous genius with a mask of madness for reasons he kept private. Most of us could only see the mask, talked about it, mocked it, even while he kept trying to share joy. After a while it got like somebody who has something very special to tell you. He keeps trying and trying to say it, but you keep interrupting him or laughing at him or lying to him. Still he tries because for some reason he keeps on believing that it is important to share this message with each and every one of us.

Michael thought he could serve the whole world. Yes, it was love that made him do it, but it was also always work. And after 50 years of working hard, he had nothing left to try with. That's when his heart and his soul--the very honest and lovely and miraculous soul of soul music--gave out. But no matter how he looked, he was always beautiful and we will always love him back.

Rest in peace, Michael. A million thanks, brother.

David Dante Troutt's most recent books are The Importance of Being Dangerous and After the Storm. He is a professor of law at Rutgers University and can be read at daviddantetroutt.com.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Now He's Home

Michael Jackson may have had a strange relationship with his blackness, but his memorial put all the questions to rest. He was black.

In a tribute to his status as a global icon, Michael Jackson’s memorial was streamed all over the world, but if there was ever any doubt, we know with absolute certainty that he was, in the end, a black man.

The memorial turned the Staples Center into a home-going like the world has never seen, the biggest black funeral ever. Commentators on every channel seemed bemused and flummoxed at the same time. (“No reports of any incidents,” they said with great surprise.) But I could look at the screen—from the gospel choir to all the tales out of school about the deceased. And the obvious: Middle America got dosed with a little black church on Tuesday. There was no denying, as evidenced by all the black royalty that lined up to pay him tribute, that Michael Jackson belongs to black America.

With all of his problems, we were right there for the ride. We have known that while white America is quick to love a singing and dancing black man, it has been just as quick to hang him out to dry at the slightest provocation. Michael’s soul never recovered from allegations of child molestation, and many were reluctant to believe his side of the story. Blacks ribbed him, but didn’t take kindly to jokes from others. We never gave up on him, never turned him away. It was ironic to watch the coverage, to hear all the testimony, and see Michael Jackson humanized in death more than he was in life.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press did a study in which it was revealed that most white Americans have no idea why Michael Jackson’s death is such a big deal. After all, said Rep. Peter King, “… this guy was a pervert.” I’ve heard that sentiment expressed in certain hipster circles, and I realized that for much of America, he was just the skinny black guy who looked like a skinny white guy.

For some of us though, even with all the shots we took at him, he was a child of the Midwest—where dreams go to die—who dared to take his show on the road. He was a little black child with a dream almost no other black child could imagine. Michael was an ordinary man with extraordinary talents, but he possessed many of the same frailties and foibles as the rest of us—the same propensity to make bad choices and missteps, the same uncomfortably, dichotomous relationship with the reality of race. It may be that black people will miss the man and that white folks will merely miss the music. Because he is a black American success story, with most of it still yet to be told.

We didn’t “discover him,” like white folks did with America and breakdancing and Dave Chappelle. It seems like he was always with us. Like many other black celebrities, we know on a first-name basis, Michael grew up in our households. He was as eccentric as any other cousin at the dinner table.

We all have that family member with strange, hard-to-articulate ways. We love to make fun of them, but strangers better not, because love them we do and love them we will. No matter how they treat us, we’d never deny them a thing, whether they are just out of jail or out of the hospital or off a nod, they are still family. Our people. And you love your people, no matter what. That was Michael Jackson—our people.

He was strange, funny-acting at times, and even if we weren’t always sure where he stood, we never stopped standing by him and claiming him as our own. We loved him first, best, last. And always.

He was not just the most exciting entertainer in the history of popular music, not just a song and dance man, not merely the embodiment of human conflicts and contradictions. He was all of those things. He was loved all over the world.

But Maya Angelou did not spit any verses for Farrah Fawcett. If there was ever doubt that he was black, it’s gone now. Now we know for sure.

He’s home now.

Jimi Izrael is a blogger for The Root on The Hardline.

Now He's Home

He's HomeI was just telling a co-worker this same thing. Mike was
oursMichael Jackson may have had a strange relationship with his
blackness, but his memorial put all the questions to rest. He was black.
Let me put you up on game playa.....dont let the cool demeanor and refined presentation fool you. I will get wit cha if neccessary!!

Power and Presence,
Robert Ferguson


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and
convenience, but where he stands in times of challenges and controversy."

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Watching the hearse travel to the Staples Center is surreal...........unbelievable

Power and Presence,
Robert Ferguson


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and
convenience, but where he stands in times of challenges and controversy."

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Why do I feel like we are burying a lifelong friend today? Rest in Peace MJ!!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hit the gym tonight...............great workout.............now I am thinking abut ordering a pizza.

Power and Presence,
Robert Ferguson


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and
convenience, but where he stands in times of challenges and controversy."

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, July 03, 2009

I am convinced that warm yeast doughnuts from Longs bakery are a gift directly from God's kitchen for making it through another week! YEA FRIDAY!!

Power and Presence,
Robert Ferguson


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and
convenience, but where he stands in times of challenges and controversy."

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

All I wanted was cashews but I kept pushing the wrong button $3 later I have Famous Amos, Reeses, AND cashews.......If the OT doesnt kill thefat kid the vending machine certainly will.....

Power and Presence,
Robert Ferguson


"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and
convenience, but where he stands in times of challenges and controversy."

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.