REMEMBERING THE LEGACY AND PROMOTING THE DREAM OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Growing up with a mom from Selma, Alabama was enlightening. Going to Selma several times a year in the 60s was eye-opening to say the least! We drove from Ohio to Selma each time and I remember the Green Book and the AAA TripTik were standard traveling materials. Also standard traveling fare included a basket of fried chicken, thermos of Kool-Aid, and two pound cakes; one for my grandparents and one to eat on the trip.
In so many ways I was fortunate although I was clueless. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke at my church when I was about 5 years old. I heard the grown folks talk about the March to Montgomery (both marches). I got to see the Edmund Pettus bridge although my parents did not like to travel Highway 80 past the bridge.
I remember sitting in front of our console TV with the fans blowing watching the "I Have a Dream" speech. Being the daughter of a preacher, our library had every book penned by Dr. King. My dad even had his sermons on reel to reel tape recordings. Then there was that day...
I was in the fifth grade at Renee Taylor's house working on our history project. We were creating a diorama on her dining room table of the Ohio countryside. Her parent's were in the living room watching the news. I heard her mom scream and start to cry. Shortly after, their phone rang and my mom was on the other end telling me daddy was on his way to pick me up. After hanging up with my mom, Mrs. Taylor told us Dr. King had been shot.
So many things after that was a blur. I remember watching the scene from the balcony with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Andrew Young and Rev. Ralph Abernathy pointing. I remember hearing James Anthony Ray was the alleged assassin. I remember listening to "I Have Been to the Mountaintop" countless times immediately after his death. I remember watching the funeral. I remember our neighborhoods in cities across America turning fiery orange from the riots after his death.
Although so many things are blurry, my memory is vivid about what Dr. King meant in that era. Looking at the photo of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Justice Thurgood Marshall and Dr. King signing the Voting Rights Amendment at the LBJ Library is a vivid reminder of the fight and how far we have come. Also, looking at our current political climate reminds me of how much more we have to fight and how far we have to go.
This month, we have the privilege to celebrate the rich legacy of Dr. King with the City of San Antonio MLK Commission and the rich events surrounding the legacy of fighting for our civil rights. Additionally, DreamVoice presents DreamWeek with over 220 events in a 17 day period. DreamWeek celebrates the dream that his "four little children will not be judged by color of their skin but by the content of their character... and little black boys will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers." The DreamWeek events allows for barrier-free conversations and connections to embrace others ideas and dreams promoting the common good.
I hope to see you out and about at these events. Your call to action? Take time this month to remember the legacy that inspired the dream. After all, we are all dreamers!