The only term paper I was asked to write in high school was an assignment to write about a "historical figure you admire". I chose Martin Luther King, Jr. I had always felt a pull towards him because among my earliest memories were news reports of the civil rights movement. My parents taught me early on not to judge someone by their skin color.
And I was taught that my mere existence was a matter of controversy. My Dad is a white man. My Mother is a Hispanic woman. I heard the stories of the tough prejudice and discrimination my mother suffered at the hands of white people in the small farm town in Colorado where she grew up. And I knew that when my parents married in 1958 that not every one was happy with a "mixed marriage".
So Dr. King was a hero to me from early on.................and when he was assassinated in 1968, I remember the grief that this eight year old felt and saw reflected in the eyes of my parents.
So along with others today, I reflected on that historic day, 50 years ago, when the eyes of the nation and the world watched a young, black minister of the Gospel speak these words.
Much has been said, in recent years, about the failings of this man. Who knows what is and isn't true? And who among us could cast the first stone, no matter what his failings may have been. Instead I choose to listen to his words.
When I logged in to post this.................I found the following email from my Dad, and I don't think he'd mind my sharing it with you.
"1963: 50 years ago, you were having dreams of a 5 year old. I was 27 and living
a dream by making trips to Cape Canaveral. But a "34" year old Black Preacherwas changing the face of America. He wasn't an athlete or a performer but the
World listened to a Christian Minister and freedom and liberty began to move
in a new direction with non-violence."