Sunday, 15 January 2012

Martin Luther King

I am taking a break from the Strong Bonds series to honour an american hero, Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
Today would be his 83th birthday, if he had lived. His wife, Mrs. King passed away several years ago, after suffering from a massive stroke and cancer. His eldest daughter, Yolanda, also passed away a few years ago. Yolanda and I were only a few months apart in age.
I remember the first time I heard Doctor King's name. It was the day he was murdered. The day was Tuesday, April 4th, 1968. It was my sister Eileen's nineth birthday.
We were attending school in Newton, being bused out of our neighourhood of Dorchester. We were part of the Operation Exdous, where inner city children, like my sister and I could be bused to another school system, where the schools were better.
I rememeber an annouce over the loud speaker at school. Those of us with Operation Exdous were leaving school early.
I remember the ride home. We didn't know what was going on, just happy to get out of school early. As we entered our neighourhood, the joy was replaced with fear. We saw rioting; adults running the streets, screaming and yelling, busting store windows and stealing things. There was one store on fire.
"They killed KING!!!" was the cry we heard.
Who was the king?
Mummie was standing at the bus stop. Now I know something was wrong. Our mother took the afternoon off to come and pick us up from school?
I could see the fear she was trying to hide. Seeing the mayhem, frankly all hell was breaking loose, mummie wanted to make sure we got home safe and explained what was happening and why. The people were upset because one of our Civil Rights leaders was shoot.
But to riot? To rob and destroy businesses? I didn't understand that.
I still don't.
I always call this the year I began to grow up. I remember so much from that year.
We were watching Bewitched, the one when Endora pull a spell on Darren, causing him to have jumbo ears. Ten minutes into the show, the news broke in and announced that Doctor King had died.
We were keptt home until after his funeral.
During those four days, I learned so much about Doctor King, what he stood, what he was fighting for. Doctor King's funeral was the very first one Eileen and I ever attended, even though it was via TV.
It was during this time, mummie talked to us about death and the afterlife. These lessons would come in handy a few months later when the Late Senate Robert F. Kennedy would be gun down and then the passing of our grandmother years later.
Doctor King had a Dream. He held this nation up to her promises and knew we could be a better people.
As I look over my life, I know that I am living Doctor King's dream. As a wife, mother, writer and teacher of women, I am the reality of his dreams. I am free marry and be happily married to the man I love without fear. I am free to live where-ever I wish, buy a home, own a busniess and use my G-d given talents.
True, the seeds of hatred because of skin colour is in our nation. We still have pockets of groups who rather divide than unite. Those who would still burn a cross on my lawn if they could. But we are so much farther as a people, as an nation.
Like him or not, but this nation elected it's first bi-racial president. Who whould have imagine that happen even four years ago. Today we have men and women of all colours and walks of life servinf not only as teachers, but lawyers, judges, doctors, ministers, priest and rabbi. We serve in all branches of the miliarty. We shine not only in Sport and Enterianment, but in Science and Business.
Doctor King's Dream is an american Dream.
Each of us, all of us, are better because Doctor Matin Luther King Jr. passed our way.
May we each remain faithful to his vision.
Happy Birthday, Dr. King.
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