In 1981, the immensely talented and popular American singer and songwriter known on stage as Stevie Wonder (born in 1950 as Stevland Hardaway Judkins; he changed his surname to Morris) wrote and released this song in protest against the opposition to having a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Its popularity here and abroad helped rally many supporters to the cause, and two years later Congress enacted the necessary legislation.
The song is of interest to us here because of the reasons Stevie Wonder adduces to honor King. Gathering evidence from each stanza, what are the reasons Wonder gives for why there should be a celebration of King’s birthday? What, according to the song, is the special contribution for which King should be so honored? Do you think that these reasons add up to a defense of a specifically American holiday, rather than a universal human one? Do we—and should we—celebrate King as an apostle of peace and love, rather than, say, of freedom and equality?