Monday, January 18, 2010

In memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This holiday Monday has found me in a pensive state. First of all I was reflecting on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the reason why I had a day off from school. He died when I was 8 years old and the only memory I have of that day is my mom ironing in front the television set. I remember she looked rather serious and when I asked her what was wrong, she stated that a man was killed. I knew it was a somber moment - and I think I even realized that it extended beyond the four walls of my house in Houston, TX....but I do not recall any other emotion tied to that day.

I normally teach To Kill a Mockingbird at this time of year - and I will go back to this schedule for all future years. This holiday is too precious to let it pass unnoticed by the students of America. This novel takes us back to a time in our nation's history that I am ashamed. The evidence obviously clears Tom Robinson of any wrong doing and yet the jury of his peers (12 white farmers from Maycomb County, Alabama) decided his guilt based solely upon the color of his skin. It makes my skin crawl and my stomach churn when I think about that. I am so thankful for the Atticus Finch characters of this world - who live their life by defining moral values that do not consider the prejudiced opinions of the "moral majority"
The one thing that does not abide by majority's rule is a person's conscience (page 105)
While I remain rather a-political in my personal life, I am deeply grateful for those who chose to take a stand. For those who were willing to give their life so that I and my children could enjoy a world that "would judge them not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character"

Thank you, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr!


  1. Darn--I left you a comment and then my computer dropped the connection--so I will try again.

    Thinking about your comment about a-political made me think of the conversation we had at dinner tonight. My son's girlfriend (also in China) wrote about their recent trip to Beijing and Tianamen Square. She said that there is no remembrance whatsoever of the terrible events that unfolded there so long ago. How sad that those who were brave enough to stand up for what they believed are not remembered for that stand.

    Also wanted to say that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites and is such an important work of literature. Yeah for you making sure your students don't miss reading it!

    *smiles and wishes for a better week this week!*

    PS: babysitting was a blast and is my friend!

  2. I will always love To Kill a Mockingbird. Thanks.

  3. Another classic that I haven't read and need to.

    I didn't realise Americans had a day off for Martin Luther King and I think it is a wonderful idea. The people who changed the course of history should be remembered in this way. I haven't read any books about Martin Luther King but you have spurred me on to search some out. Lovely post.

  4. Very nice post. I'm like you - I don't act on my convictions much, but sure do admire those who do.

  5. I am definitely not an activist, but I have opinions, and strong beliefs in this area. Our school does an excellent job of making the kids aware of the holiday, and what King stands for.

    Can you believe I only read TKAM just last year? I'm so annoyed that this was not introduced to us in high school. Atticus Finch has to be one of the greatest literary characters of all time.

  6. Yup, high schools should read it. I love the name Atticus. He is such a calm, wise, gentle dad and neighbor. I like Scout too.


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