Monday, January 16, 2012
Reflections/ Happy Martin Luther King Day
"Not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King~
Times change. I believe everything evolves and improves, always changing into a higher condition. I'm old enough to remember stories that I heard about black slaves. They were shameful and made a little girl from Kansas cry in her pillow at night. We lived on a quiet street with a dead end road, you could turn left or right but straight went into a field. The field where black men camped out near the railroad tracks. My friends said we lived in "nigger town" and asked if I was scared. It hurt bad the day I heard that question and made me want to redecorate my mom's living room but since she liked it the way it was, I decided I would plant flowers and make it so beautiful that nobody would be scared of my street. The street that blew wind up my nostrils while riding my bike, no hands on the handle bar with my brother, sisters and black best friends. A safe street where I had way too many mothers because back then everyone was your mama if we did wrong we were scolded by whoever saw us doing bad. We shared tomatoes from each others gardens and iced tea on the porch. I'm old enough to remember my dad saying how good things were getting for the colored folk. He told stories about the signs in his boyhood town back in Arkansas that warned black men to get the hell out of town before sunset or they would be found hanging by their toes. He'd shiver at the thought, munch a piece of ice and then tell us to quit eavesdropping.
All those stories, some good, some too bad to retell but still things were changing, slightly improving. The city built a fast moving four lane road on my old street, many of the neighbors have died or moved. Today I reflected on the many people who marched for change, the ones who died and sacrificed for us. We were ignorant and may God forgive us our past but now we do better. I leave this story with another story. The one about Julie and her new best friend. She adored this new girl, wanted to perm her straight hair so she could have curly hair like the new friend. "Mom, my friend is so pretty, she has a suntan and it's winter!" I suggested we have her over to play and we set the table with cookies and flowers. The surprise was meeting "Tara". She wasn't tan, she was a black girl! I laughed to myself that night and Julie worried that I didn't like her new friend. I just remember hugging her and saying how much I loved her little eyes that could see such beauty. So many things evolve and improve if we just keep our faith in the best, plant lots of flowers and let the wind blow. Happy Martin Luther King day to all.