Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day

From Wikipedia,
ML King and LB Johnson
This post was written to contribute to Beverly Diehl's I Have A Dream - MLK Blogfest 
Let's Discuss Racism & Discrimination post. (Will add the link when it's up).

One of the most impressionable quotes I've taken from one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s most celebrated speeches was the dream he had when his "four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Before applying this quote in theory across a broad canvass, very early along in my journey content resonated with me. Listening to stories about my family made me curious. I found the stories about my great-great-great grandparents' character tremendously fascinating; the black African slave, the white man, and the Native American.

And then my father brought out the books, and newspaper clippings, and turned to news segments on TV that heightened my interest in character. Looking at the face of a little girl being escorted to school to help end segregation gave me great cause to pause. I wondered how she felt, what was she thinking... it was bewildering to say the least... it could have been me. Seeing pictures of crowds cheering public hangings made me question, how could anyone cheer something like that? I asked my mother about one photo of a man hanging from a tree, to which she explained some things I will never forget. The sit-ins, the demonstrations, the marches, coupled with personal experiences in my near environment of how people in my own culture treated each other; all of these raw lessons prompted me to question deeply the content of character.


I am most grateful to have experienced, whether subconsciously or by fate, an immeasurable assembly of lessons... from a heterogeneous amalgam of employment experiences and relationships (military, government, corporate, education); and the multifarious of friends I've befriended, the great mix of countries and cultures where I've lived, my eclectic reading... this sundry of associations not only has augmented my understanding of people and character, but it supplements the powerful edge behind the characters I create in my novels.

This is one area where my journey walks the talk. I celebrate black history 365-days a year. I do not judge a book by its cover. Why, just look at my own book covers. I don't like everyone, but love all people. Racism I've learned is a by-product of ignorance. It affects all of us, regardless of skin color, though not to undermine the harm of racism practiced systematically, I must re-stress the importance of learning about each other. Outside of that understanding, and congruent to my own flaws, though innate to who I am, I celebrate creativity, uniqueness, learning opportunities outside of what I'm familiar with, and of course, looking beyond what first meets the eye. This is genuinely what moves me, perhaps thanks to the impression Dr. King's quote had on me before realizing its profound impact on humanity.

Remembering Dr. King on his day.

Comments

  1. Hello there, I popped over from She Writes after learning that you are joining the MLK Blogfest. Nice reading your piece here! I like how you've put it: You 'don't like everyone, but love all people.' Racism and prejudices stem from ignorance. Personal heroism stems from Learning and Compassion and the Courage to stand up for one's beliefs.

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  2. Racism affects us all, and I wonder what the true cost is. How many people lose out on friendships, ideas, work innovations, because they wouldn't listen to or befriend somebody who wasn't "like themselves," judging purely on skin color and nothing about the inner person?

    So glad you're joining with your impressions and experiences. You're absolutely right, it's about ignorance.

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  3. Thanks Claudine. I am very thankful for Dr. King's voice, and really appreciated hearing your voice over there with the things you're doing with the little ones;-)

    And Bev... thank you for hosting the MLK Blogfest. My post actually got me into a little midnight chat last night... so now I'll have to address it and thank you all Over Again.

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  4. I share Claudine's feelings. I can't possibly like everybody, nor do I expect them to like me, but I can care for all people. I don't know why we struggle with coexisting, I can't fathom this. We all have but one life to live, why spend it wasting time on hatred. It seems life is too short to be bothered by skin color, religious beliefs, etc., Strong and thoughtful post, thanks for sharing.

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  5. Stopping by way of Beverly Diehl's 'MLK Blogfest' ;-)

    Love this: "I celebrate creativity, uniqueness, learning opportunities outside of what I'm familiar with, and of course, looking beyond what first meets the eye." Me, too!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  6. Hey there Brenda. Thanks for stopping by and enjoying the post. I was gonna 'try' and answer the co-existing struggle you posed here, but I think I'm just about all MLK'd out;-)

    And Dangerous Linda;-), thanks for stopping by as well. I think I stopped by your way, but if not, I shall swing by your way soon.

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