The Black Eagle remembers MLK
January 19, 2009
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The observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Northern Kentucky University kicked off Jan. 15′ with a speech delivered by talk radio host and political activist Joe Madison.
According to his Web site, Madison, better known as the ‘The Black Eagle’ by his Washington, D.C.-based listener ship, fills the radio airwaves with his daily talk show on WOL-AM and Sirius/XM satellite radio channel 169, delivering a message of political activism’ .
But at NKU, Madison didn’t address his D.C. constituents, but instead spoke to a partially filled Otto Budig Theater about the need for civil activism from the ground up and the need to remember Martin Luther King Jr..
‘I want to try and let you know what Dr. King was all about,’ Madison said. ‘We must look further than just the quotes the man said.’
Madison emphasized how quick we are as a nation to attribute all civil gains to Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy. According to Madison civil activism and eventual civil gains were truly manifestations of people such as Rosa Parks — people who refused to give in to segregation and were a catalyst’ for ‘change from the ground up.’
‘In celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., his legacy is more than his words, and Rosa Parks was more than a woman on a bus,’ said Will Raglin, senior business marketing major.
Madison has stood by his word of the importance of civil activism. According to his web site he has gone to jail numerous times for the demonstration of civil disobedience, much like Dr. King. Madison has also participated in hunger strikes to oppose apartheid in South Africa and mass genocide and slavery in Sudan.
‘Every day, (Madison) gives a powerful voice to those around the world who are oppressed and marginalized,’ said Michael Griffin, coordinator of African American Student Affairs & Ethnic Services.
Griffin, who met Madison briefly at the NAACP National Convention held last year in Cincinnati, believed that Madison could effectively deliver the message that the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday ‘is not just a day off, but also a day of service to others.’ Throughout his address, Madison pointed out the problems that exist in the United States, such as poverty and a lack of high school graduates within the black community, and how these issues are compounding racial problems in America today.’
He warned that although we currently have a black President in the executive seat, ‘We should be mindful not to deify Obama, and should not assume that he can fix all our problems.’ ‘
But, to begin to fix the problems of our community and to truly honor Dr. King, we should ‘clean up the very streets that are named for him.’
Madison went on to paint a picture of a racially charged childhood in America during the 1960s.
‘When I was a kid, driving with my family from Dayton to Cincinnati, you didn’t dare stop, and because you didn’t stop at a restaurant or diner, you were exposed to the indignity of watching your mother or grandmother squatting on the side of the road to relieve themselves,’ Madison said.
You see, that is what black families did back then,’ Madison said. ‘Your family would tell you, ‘Oh, that’s okay, we will just pull over and have a picnic instead.’ That is how they protected you from the harsh reality of not being able to eat in a public restaurant.’
Turning his focus back to current issues, Madison said ‘So, I ask you ‘- is race still an issue?’
To answer his own question, he reemphasized how far racial relations have come in America, and how the civil changes’ started with the very students that attend NKU.
However, he also pointed out that there are still racial issues to mend in our nation.
‘This is a road that has been 44 years in the making,’ Madison said. ‘And although we have overcome a great deal, I’d venture to say that we have not reached the mountain top, but we are a long way from Memphis.’
Madison and his message can be heard everyday on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio channel 169 and read on his Web site, www.joemadison.com.