As we ponder another Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (with a bonus, the Inauguration), we have the opportunity to share time with the kids and think about our place in time. Doesn’t the “I Have a Dream” speech have a deeper meaning to you now that you are a parent? It’s amazing to think that we are only 50 years or so from the Jim Crow society that seems unfathomable to us now. Of course, we observe the shadows those times still cast and consider how we can continue to bring MLK’s Dream to fruition.
In Birmingham, we are surrounded by the reminders of a dark and ugly time. I never drive past the 16th Street Baptist Church without a feeling of quiet reverence for this site of a flashpoint in history, followed by a sense of profound relief that things are different now.
We only have so many years to truly influence our children. Part of the Dream was that our children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Let’s use our time with the kids to work on that character.
If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend Weld Birmingham’s fascinating series by Sol Kimerling and Pamela Sterne King, “No More Bull.” The series takes us back to the events of the time in the neighborly tone of the back story we Southerners love (we want to know how the subject’s daddy and mama influenced the course of history) along with references to place (“atop Red Mountain just next to Vulcan…”).