In the Name of Love: A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

I wasn’t born when Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech during that tumultuous summer of 1963 when a quarter million people marched on Washington, but King’s inspiring words have floated around in my head much of my adult life.

Photo of Martin Luther King Jr._______________

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

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King’s ideas, and more so, his actions, have stood as a powerful reminder that even the most insurmountable challenges can be conquered when one person’s dreams are fueled by passion and commitment.

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For the past several days I’ve spent numerous hours trying to write a meaningful tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., agonizing over each word, nuance, and angle. But nothing I created felt worthy of Dr. King and all the extraordinary things he did.

I wanted so badly to get this tribute right that I continually got it wrong. My words weren’t powerful enough nor my ideas brilliant enough, or my approach passionate enough to adequately honor somebody who changed so much for our country.

Photo of Martin Luther King Jr. in jailMy daughter, Olivia, watched as I sat at my computer, struggling with my thoughts. She watched as I listened to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on YouTube, feeling the emotion I was trying to put into words. She watched as I played U2’s music video, “Pride (In the Name of Love)”—one of my all-time favorite songs. Then she watched as I closed the lid on my laptop and gave up.

I tried to ignore the crummy feeling that immediately washed over me, but I couldn’t. I had let myself down (particularly since I was trying to honor somebody whose character was the epitome of strength, determination and persistence), and I had also set a horrible example for my daughter. Nothing about it felt okay.

What came next though changed everything.

Olivia came back into my office a few minutes later, put her arms around my neck, then said, “I think we should do something special.”

I was so deep in my self-flagellating thoughts that I merely placated her with, “Hmmmm,” not even thinking about what she was trying to say.

Olivia, who is nothing but persistent, tried once again to get my full attention and shake me out of my glum mood, repeating subtly, “I THINK WE SHOULD DO SOMETHING SPECIAL.”

Finally, I snapped backed in a semi-annoyed voice–not wanting to play the guessing game, “Do something special for what?”

“You know, Mom…uh…Martin Luther King.” (duh!).

That’s all she had to say to make everything right. I couldn’t put into words how important this man was to me, or to our nation, but my 8-year old instinctively knew, and wanted to honor him.

Photo of a candle flameAt dinner we symbolically lit candles and talked about Dr. King and all he did. We talked about the difficulties he faced and how he changed our nation by pursuing his dream of equality with passion and commitment.

Photo of Rosa parksThen Olivia said, “Tell me about Rosa Parks.” When my husband explained that she was arrested because she wouldn’t give up her seat for a white person and go to the back of the bus, Olivia said, “Are you kidding me? That makes no sense.”

The fact that she could not comprehend this way of thinking said everything.

It reminded me of when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. Olivia was just five years old, but Jeffrey and I kept her home from preschool that day so she could watch Obama’s historic inauguration with us on TV.

Photo Barack Obama inaugurationWhen Olivia saw tears trickling down my cheeks, she cocked her head and said, “Mommy, why are you crying? Aren’t you happy that Bawack Obama is pwesident?”

I had to explain to her that I couldn’t have been happier or more proud of our country. We were finally living up to our creed that all men are created equal.

Jeffrey simply said, “I want you to always remember this moment, Olivia.”

Just like the conversation that surrounded Obama’s inauguration, our entire dinner conversation last night focused on judging people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin, just like Martin Luther King dreamed so many years ago.

Martin Luther King jr Day graphicThe topper to my whole “perfect moment” evening though, was when Olivia asked, “Why don’t people work on Martin Luther King Day?” When I told her that many people choose to honor him by doing community service or giving back, she immediately said, “I want to feed the homeless again. Pleeeeaase? Can we pleeeeeeease? I really want to do that.”

So there you go, Dr. King, we will be honoring you once again by giving back to our community, and continuing to celebrate your dream–a dream that becomes more and more powerful with each new generation, simply because equality for all is a given in the eyes of young people who have not yet learned to be ignorant.

Photo of Martin Luther King Jr.

Jeffrey Aaronson’s Improbable Journey with Steve Jobs (Part Two)

See Part One in my 10/11/11 Post

FEBRUARY 1984: After calling the magazine to tell them what has transpired, Jeffrey is on a plane heading to Cupertino, CA. The editor is stunned by the access Jeffrey has been given. Jobs has been notorious for being private and avoiding the media.

Photo of original Apple Computer sign in Cupertino, CAFor Jeffrey, the magazine assignment becomes much less important than capturing an exciting moment in time, knowing Steve Jobs and his family of co-workers, are creating one of the coolest things he has ever seen: a personal computer that’s small enough to sit on a desk, and one that can be used by anyone, not just scientists, business people, or computer geeks. The drawing and painting capabilities alone have him dazzled, not to mention the the word processing.

Jeffrey spends a week at Apple headquarters and photographs like a fly on the wall. One of Jobs’ colleagues questions why Jeffrey is being allowed into proprietary meetings, but Jobs insists. “He’s my friend and you can trust him, so he’s staying. Now let’s move.”

Photo of Steve Jobs at Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, CA, 1984

Steve Jobs leading his team in a meeting at Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, CA, 1984. ©Jeffrey Aaronson.

Read the rest of this story and enjoy many rarely-seen photographs of Steve Jobs in our ebook, Steve & i, which is now available on Amazon for the Kindle devices and Barnes & Noble for the NOOK. The iPad version is coming soon.

Steve and i book cover

Jeffrey Aaronson’s Improbable Journey with Steve Jobs(Part One)

THEN: THINK DIFFERENT (Part One)

February 1984: It’s a classic winter day in Aspen. Snow is falling like heavy cotton as photographer Jeffrey Aaronson sits hunched over his light table, editing film. As he lowers his loupe and glances up from his slides for a moment, he suddenly notices a flash of brown amidst all the white outside his window. A UPS truck is pulling up in front of his studio. Jeffrey isn’t expecting a package, so curiosity immediately tickles his frontal lobe.

In a matter of minutes Jeffrey finds himself staring at a large white box sitting on his studio floor. He can do little more than shake his head and smile when he sees the word Macintosh printed on its side, along with its signature design.

Inside the box he finds a brand new Apple Macintosh 128K computer along with a keyboard and a new thing called a mouse. He also finds a hand-written note from Steve Jobs. It simply reads:

“Be a part of the future—Steve”

At that moment, Jeffrey knows he has just opened up more than a computer box; he has opened up his entire world—a world in which anything is possible. Not because of the machine per se, but because of the impact the machine’s creator has had on him. The computer is merely a symbol of all that is possible when a brilliant imagination is supported by hard work and fearlessness.

Jeffrey smiles at the boldness of his friend’s characteristically minimal note, and is stunned by his generosity. But then again, not really. In the past month, Steve Jobs has bowled him over countless times…

Steve and i book cover

Read the rest of this improbable story and see many more rarely-seen photographs of Steve Jobs in our ebook, Steve & i, which is now available on Amazon for the Kindle and at Barnes and Noble for the NOOK. The iPad version is coming soon.