Monday, January 21, 2008

Remembering MLK Jr.



I took this photo last year at The King Center in Atlanta. My friend, Phebus, and I visited the center during the AWP conference.

Many in the media are reminding the viewers to think of this holiday as "a day on" as opposed to a day off. Even as I reflect, I don't have a good sense what my parents, who lived in the Deep South back then, when through. I mean, I've never been refused entry anywhere. I've never sat at a separate lunch counter, used separate water fountains, or used bathrooms marked "For Colored Only." But I am a beneficiary of the marches, the protests, the speeches. I am--we all are--the beneficiaries of the King legacy.

I am one-generation removed from the Civil Rights Movement. My kids will be second-generation removed. It is my hope that one day I will be able to find the words to explain how we got here. I want to show them how words have actions, and how ideas can create change. And how one man had a vision.

The democratic presidents candidates have been invoking King's memory quite a bit leading up to tonight's debate. I can only hope that King would be pleased that we are in the position to have a viable black candidate and a formatable woman candidate on the ticket. So on this day, I'm am flooded with thoughts of the future, while looking back at our country's difficult past.

Because we all are the beneficiaries of the King legacy, let this day, and every day hereafter, be "a day on."

4 comments:

susan said...

January,

Thanks for a thoughtful post. I live to live "day on." I've written about today in the past and I've even have enjoyed the privilege of being a public speaker at a large gathering. This year though I found myself reflecting more of how I'm living, how am I manifesting the dream.

I don't know what the connection is, but I am convinced now more than ever, that I stumbled on your blog for a purpose. Each time I visit here, you make me think and I feel inspired to respond, to write, to act.

Thank you,

January said...

Susan, you flatter me. I really glad you came by, too. Thanks for your comments--I ppreciate them.

bostonerin said...

Wonderful, true words, Jan.

I, too, think it's important to remember that everyone benefitted from MLK Jr's actions--keeping people apart only holds us back as a society. My hope is that his legacy encourages us to reach across other boundaries, like religious and economic gaps, as we continue to work on developing as a community, nation, and world.

January said...

Erin, well said. We need to strengthen our communities and work together to improve the quality of life for all.

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