It started when I was a kid, my fascination with the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. I don’t really know exactly how my obsession began, but I made it my business to devour every piece of literature I could find on King. For starters, we didn’t have a lot of images in books at school of black americans. There were a select few and among them, my favorites were Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes, and Martin Luther King.
Dr. King was the most talked about famous black American.
I credit my grandfather for learning me up on several black americans that I would have never otherwise heard of.
In 1983 I was in the 6th grade, and I had an assignment to write an essay on a famous black American. I was elated since Martin Luther King Jr was my favorite person in black history, and I knew everything their was to know about him. Imagine my disappointment when the assignment had been been given to another student, and I had to pick another subject. I settled on Langston Hughes who was my second favorite mostly due to his beautiful and eloquently written poetry.
I had my heart set on my Dr King essay though which had turned into a full on speech! I approached my grandfather who was the Pastor of our church and asked if I could read it on Sunday during service. He was all to eager and encouraging to me in a way that warmed my heart. I worked on that paper relentlessly, and I was quite proud of it. I read it aloud for my mother, my aunts, and my grandparents. They all told me it was good work, and I was so excited for Sunday to arrive. The time came for me to read my paper to the congregation at church. I was introduced. I walked up to the podium, and suddenly, I felt woozy. My hands began to tremble, my palms were wet with sweat, my vision was blurry, and my voice had completely disappeared. I remember looking into the audience as people were smiling at me, chanting things like “it’s ok baby, take your time”. This is the moment when I learned that I had stage fright. This was also the moment I realized, I can express myself very well on paper, but in a crowded room, during church service, it just wasn’t happening. I don’t know how I made it through those few minutes that of course seemed like hours. I don’t even know if I read the entire thing, or if my voice was heard even though I spoke into a mic. But I do know, that I was embarrassed and humiliated. I felt like I had let my church down, my family and my grandfather. To my surprise, my grandparents told me that I did a good job inspite of my fears.
It’s a funny story today, but back then, I was horrified.
I’m still a better writer than I am a public speaker. I have gotten better though. As a matter of fact, sometimes I can’t shut up. Ha!
And that’s my childhood memory for MLK day.
I spent my day off lounging, working my vision board, reflecting, and having my kids look up facts about Dr. King. They left me high and dry after a while. Lol..
How about you. Do you have any favorite quotes or memories about MLK.
Check out a few of my favorite quotes below:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
A lie cannot live.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.
I thank God for Martin’s dream as well as his stance on equality and justice for all people regardless of race, color, or creed. I’m still fascinated by his claim to fame and will never forget the sacrifices others have made on behalf of a better America.
Happy MLK day everyone. Peace and blessings,