Monday, January 18, 2010

A Day of Reflection

Today is MLK Jr. Day. I, as many, have the day off from work. For real I’m off from work because of this holiday. This is just not a holiday for Black folks. It’s a holiday for all folks. But as an Original person descended from former slaves and folks that suffered the indignities and atrocities of Jim Crow, today is a day of reflection for me. But really pisses me off is how nonchalant the Black conscious community behaves toward this holiday.

It doesn’t matter that Dr. King (btw, his doctorate was earned not given) was a Christian man, nor that he was Greek, nor that he possibly might have been a mason…. This man publicly spoke up in a time when he knew that he would be killed for his words (Wisdom). He allowed himself to be the face of the civil rights movement. He was killed fighting for the rights of all people. And because of his actions, generations will never know what it was like to live in a segregated community. I’m asking the naysayers if they would be so generous.

I have, literally, sat at the feet of older people while they reminisced about how life was before the end of segregation. My parents grew up during Jim Crow. They went to segregated schools. They were subject to curfews and segregated facilities. They used to tell me how they would travel on busses and they feared getting off to use the bathroom. When they travelled by train, they had to bring their own lunches because they weren’t allowed to leave the colored cars to get food. My father was almost lynched once. I have an uncle who was lynched simply because he had a new car. The struggle might be history like the War of 1812 for some; but for me it was reality. Had my father been lynched, I would not exist.

Do I believe integration has aided us? In some ways yes, and in other ways no. But I’m certain the people at the time did not know this before they wore out there marching shoes, and exhausted their dog repellant while wearing waterproof clothing. I respect what our fore-people did to give me a better life. And so should you. I’m not big on telling people how they should live or behave, but it is important for Original people to know and respect their history.

Peace to Martin Luther King Jr.