I wanted to say something on this important national holiday; a piercing quote, a thoughtful word.
But first, I decided to do some reading, to refresh my mind about the life and legacy of this man. I was struck by an excerpt from a book called The Heavens Might Crack: The Death and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Jason Sokol. See link below to read the full article.
Here are just a few of the things I read:
To so many white Americans, King’s death registered as someone else’s horror. It was a wound inflicted upon another people.
While the funeral demonstrated the powerful link between King and ordinary black people, it also showed the depths of white apathy. The white neighborhoods on the city’s outskirts seemed untouched by the day’s events.
In the weeks after King’s assassination, the Emory Center for Research in Social Change conducted a survey of Atlanta residents. Eighty-three percent of African Americans reported strongly emotional reactions to King’s death. Only 42 percent of whites registered such responses. As the Emory social scientists concluded, “White Atlantans simply did not identify with Dr. King; his death to them was simply an event which would not affect the individual lives of white people.” The researchers asked whether King’s death had affected individuals’ attitudes toward racial problems. Fully 84 percent of whites in Atlanta answered “No.”
I sat in silence for a moment, and then I wept for a little bit and thought, "So little has changed." And that made me very sad. And even more determined to try to become a person who refuses to see racial pain, trauma or injustice as "a wound inflicted upon another people."
Happy Birthday, Reverend Dr. King. Thank you for everything. And I am sorry. So very sorry.