Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4,1968 was Thursday

and the day Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on the balcony of this Memphis motel. I will be honest, I was more upset my favorite cartoon Huckleberry Hound was interrupted by the news. My parents, on the other hand were upset and devastated. I did not really 'get' it.

Sure, I had seen Dr. King on TV talking and walking alot. I saw people, the same color as me, get attacked by police. My parents would be glued to the set. The action on the TV was so far away from my own childhood existence. I never saw as many black people as I did during those times. I am sure my parents tried to explain to me what was happening, yet I just did not 'get' it. I was not even sure or how to be proud of my race. I never had to worry about 'coloreds only' signs.

I grew up in a predominately white Iowa town. In school, all we were taught about Blacks in America was slavery and George Washington Carver's work with peanuts. To be honest, not until I got out in the world and made a conscious effort to learn of my race did I start to 'get it'.

I have so far learned that not every Black person's ancestry in America was a slave. My dad's side were not slaves at all. They were few of the freedmen in Virginia, in the late 1700's on. Simply unheard off.

Forty-four years ago Dr. Martin Luther King died. He was not even forty years old.

I know I 'get it' now and wonder: what if...

1 comment:

Old Kitty said...

I remember watching a documentary about this awful day - this awful time and there was a pic after the assassination - of all Dr King's friends who were with him that day sitting around in his hotel room looking very very lost and completely shell shocked. And on the bed was Dr King's suitcase open but unpacked -his shirts all tidied and folded and on top of his shirts was his bible. Very very very sad and poignant! I'm glad his birthday is celebrated. He truly did so much and truly moved mountains! Take care