Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples performed Sunday night at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA for the 10th Annual Martin Luther King  Tribute. She rules in my book, seeing her in person did not disappoint. Seeing her on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, a moment I won’t soon forget.

MLK tribute performers singing "We Shall Overcome" Photo Credit: Laird Nolan

The historic Paramount Theater was the perfect setting for an event such as this. After opening performers Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Youth Speaks Oakland Children’s Community Choir and Pop Lyfe took the stage, Mavis shared with the crowd some of her memories of Dr. King, then delivered an uplifting set of exquisite vocals. The show culminated with most of the evening’s performers taking to the stage to sing We Shall Overcome along with the crowd.

What better time to re-visit some memorable quotes from the late great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr:

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

“The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.

“Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on. It is not man.

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”

Here’s to Martin Luther King, Jr.