Celebrating MLK Day in KY

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I decided to take my kids to the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY.  The Ali center is jewel of a structure outside; inside it is a beautiful and moving tribute to the boxer, the humanitarian, the man who has spent his life fighting racism in this country and around the world.  Through the interactive exhibits my kids learned about what it means to stand up for your rights and put your convictions on the line.  I felt like it was a fitting way to celebrate MLK Day, as well as the day the first African-American president of the US was sworn in for a second term.  Above is a picture of my sons sporting their hats from the center with a couple of Ali’s trademark phrases on the front.

At the center, during a film giving the highlights of Ali’s life, the poem IF by Rudyard Kipling is often quoted.  Here is part of it below:

IF

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

When you go to the center, or if you visit the website (alicenter.org), you’ll see a list of Ali’s core beliefs.  Here they are:

Confidence Belief  in oneself, one’s abilities, and one’s future.
Conviction A firm belief that gives one the courage to stand behind that belief, despite pressure to do otherwise.
Dedication The act of devoting all of one’s energy, effort, and abilities to a certain task.
Giving To present voluntarily without expecting something in return.
Respect Esteem for, or a sense of the worth or excellence of, oneself and others.
Spirituality A sense of awe, reverence, and inner peace inspired by a connection to all of creation and/or that which is greater than oneself.

Happy MLK Day!

 

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