Happy Martin Luther King Day!

January 13, 2006 | Family & Life

Today is the beginning of a long weekend. Federal and state offices will be closed Monday, no mail. So if you were expecting a contract by snail mail, you’ll have until Tuesday, and hope it has enough postage. I’m looking forward to the weekend, and not just because it’s just SciFi Friday. I don’t participate in any King holiday celebrations. I remember the man and what he stood for, correction, stands for. I was a part of the demonstrations in Washington, D.C. to make his birthday a holiday. I heard Rev. Jesse Jackson speak, Stevie Wonder sing. I was in graduate school at Howard University. I really felt part of the movement, having lived in the segregated souths’ capital of the Confederacy. I remember my father keeping me home from school when King was assasinated for fear of riots, that tore through the black community. That area is just now being rebuilt. How long ago was that? My father, raised in a more restrictive south than I was, wouldn’t allow me to watch too much of the television coverage. It was painful, but we watched the funeral together. Can you imagine how his death would be treated in today’s media? The death watch over Sharon has been inundating.

I just can’t seem to get up enough energy for the ‘King Size Sales’, that are happening. I actually heard that sales pitch on the news this morning for a mattress company. Kings’ birthday started out being celebrated in a soul stirring reverent way. Community breakfasts, religious ceremonies, speeches, recitation of his Washington, D.C. speech. It still is, but for every spiritual message, there’s a secular one as well. Come on in and buy. I hesitate to think, yet I realize, most young African Americans, know his name, know they’ve got a day off from school or college, but have very little understanding as to what it took for them to get into that particular college, what sacrifices King and others made for them to walk into any store or restuarant and be able to be seated anywhere without Coloured assigned seating. They expect to be treated as a person, not a person of color. And for me there’s the rub. They are a person of color and as such should respect and remember what it took for them to be treated as a person. My husband made our daughter sit down and watch all the episodes of Eyes On the Prize. We’re introducing it to our son. History taught, history learned, history to be understood. Don’t take for granted – anything. Because everything has a cost.
Have a great weekend. See ya Tuesday.

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