Martin Luther King Jr's Christmas Message of Peace
Martin Luther King (Michael Reichmann/CBC Still Photo Collection)
A Christmas Eve message from Martin Luther King Jr. Three months before he was assassinated in April 1968, King presented the Massey lectures on CBC Radio. He took the occasion to share his message of non-violence with a larger audience.
Also, a selection of stories from Fireside Al and some of your letters.
You can listen to the program right here.
We go back to Christmas Eve 1967. The place was the Ebenezer Baptist Church and the speaker, Martin Luther King Jr. It was the fifth and final Massey lecture that King had recorded for CBC Radio's Ideas. He took the occasion of Christmas Eve to share his message of non-violence with a larger audience. In the background you'll hear his father- Martin Luther King Senior- the co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church. He encourages the preacher in the traditional southern church style. Just over three months later, Pastor King Sr witnessed his son's funeral in the same church. That was in April 1968.
In the second half of the show, readings appropriate to the season from a man unmatched in his ability to tell a story. His name is Alan Maitland- and for many years he was Michael Enright's co-host on the program As It Happens. He also had another persona- depending on the season- storyteller. In the summer he was Front Porch Al, and in the winter- Fireside Al. On this show: Fireside Al. First up is a broadcast from December 1976, where Al reads How Mr. Pepys Spent Christmas. Mr Pepys is,Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist, Member of Parliament and wealthy man about town. These readings are from his diaries between 1662 and 1668.
Next is a delightful poem called Jest 'Fore Christmas. Written by Eugene Field in the late 19th century, it's a great description of a child's plan to guarantee presents under the Christmas tree.
After that, Alan Maitland, as Fireside Al, reads an excerpt from George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss. He paints a richly evocative vision of all the things that come together to make Christmas day more special than any other.
And finally, a bit of tearjerker- the story of "The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christian Andersen.
You can also hear Fireside Al on As It Happens in his annual Christmas Eve reading of The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth.
After the stories, Michael reads some letters from you, our listeners.
And to wrap it all up, two songs from Gordon Lightfoot. You'll hear "Did She Mention My Name" and "Leaves of Grass."