Monday, January 21, 2008

“Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr.”

That is what Miss M said when she remembered that she was off school today. I made sure to remind her that being off school is not the reason we should thank Dr. King. I wanted her to know that our family in particular should give special consideration to this special day. As one of the moms from the G.I.F.T.* program said in an e-mail yesterday, “Without Dr. King I don't know if my family would ever have come to be.” Her e-mail also included this poem written by Byron Von Rosenberg.

An American Holiday

With peaceful demonstrations
He overcame such hateful strife
He set a people free
And for that he gave his life.

Many years have passed
And there is peace within
Yet we must pause to contemplate
Those words he spoke again.

"I have a dream" of freedom
That rings in every place,
Equality and Liberty
For each person, every race.

No man is truly free
When he denies that right to others
For we must be a family
Like sisters and brothers.

Martin Luther King
Showed us all the way
And that is why we celebrate
This American holiday.

Byron Von Rosenberg, 2003

My husband took the day off work so that we could do something special to celebrate today. We decided on the Black World History Museum on St. Louis Avenue. The museum dedicated a large room to the dreadful way that Africans were first brought to America. There was a replica of a slave trading ship that we could walk through and an actual slave cabin moved to the museum from a plantation in Jonesburg, Missouri. The majority of the other displays focused on African-American Missourians including George Washington Carver, Dred and Harriett Scott, musician Clark Terry, Clara Brown, Hiram Young and others. The kids were fascinated by the realism of the wax figures (and quite frankly, so were we!) In one of the last display rooms we entered sat Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself. Big D was thrilled to see someone that he recognized. He was even more excited when he learned that there was a cake in honor of Dr. King’s birthday, and that it was NOT made out of wax.

I am so happy that we were able to do something together as a family to commemorate this special holiday. I’m not sure how much the kids were able to get out of it at their young ages, but I do know that a tradition has been established. Our family will continue celebrating not only the birthday of Dr. King, but also the ideas to which he dedicated his life.

* G.I.F.T. (Getting Interracial Families Together) is a social group for families of mixed race, whether by marriage, birth or adoption.


A Buns Life said...

Hmmm, I never thought about it like that, what your friend said. I take my BIL and niece and nephew for granted in a way. Perhaps without MLK, I wouldn't have these amazing people in my life. I'm so glad you took the opportunity to celebrate the day in a special way.

Anonymous said...

After reading about your MLK day outing I started thinking. The kids have learned about MLK at school so we talked about him a bit but I feel silly for not realizing what a very personal effect he has had on our family. When I read what that woman said about her family would not be what it was today without him my eyes were opened. My kids, and me would not have the friends or family we do without him. I guess I just wanted to say thanks for writing about it and making me realize just how important yesterday really was.