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Monday, January 20, 2014

Living History (Revisited)

Mentioned to a good friend who follows my blog that I was thinking about a post to honor Martin Luther King Jr.  When he suggested re-posting what I'd written in 2012, I was surprised and pleased anyone would recall an old post and even more surprised reading it; no altering is needed. My questions from the original still warrant thoughtful answers. PB   

I was an 18 year old college freshman on April 4, 1968, the day Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. 

I remember the day clearly. Walking across campus, the first question I thought to ask my closest black friend was if he hated me. He answered by saying something about how angry he was at white people that day but that no, he did not hate me. I recall being relieved. I was so young, so naive and I so wanted to be liked. Where were you that day? Who in your life was hit hardest by King's death?  

Years later, when the talk started about establishing a holiday in King's honor, I have an even clearer recollection. I thought - How can this be? I was alive when King was. How is it possible his historic importance escaped me? Was it because I was young and so self-centered? Or, is it because his place in the grander scheme wouldn't have been part of the conversation in my white world?

Did you know you were living history if you were alive when Martin was? I did not. 

1 comment:

  1. No, I didn't know that I was witnessing history, although I did recognize that there was something different about this man that caused my traditional white southern parents to sit up and take notice, in a surprisingly positive way. However, I have recognized that I was witnessing history in Nelson Mandela.

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