Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day

Yesterday was Dr. King's birthday.  Today is the day we celebrate what he has given to the world.  He gave his life for what he believed.  A lot of people gave their lives for the simple right to be seen as equal.  To have the same rights in this country as everyone else.  One of my favorite quotes: 

 As long as you keep a person down some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.
~Marian Anderson

We certainly see that in this country.  A country young and full of hope and promise.  But whether we hold back people because of the color of their skin, the beliefs in their heart, who they love, then it holds us all back.

One of my favorite quotes of Dr. King:

"Be a bush if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are."

And my final quote for the day is from the Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd:

"Zach Taylor: Miss August told me about you being here helping out. She didn't mention anything about you being white.
Lily Owens: Maybe she didn't notice."

As long as their is hatred, lack of forgiveness, lack of support of other then we can never have the peace in our heart that must exist for world peace. 

I am still working on forgiving myself for mzy prejudice, my bigotry in my youth.  It was not from my heart.  It was not my thoughts, but those that were accepted in the world I lived in.  There is one event that I have held in my heart for way too long.  I was probably 11 and in sixth grade.  Lisa, whose Dad was a State Representative and I were at the Palmetto High School football home game.  We ran into Darlene.  She was one of the two first black girls de-segregated into our public schools.  Jackie was the other one.  They were just sweet precious little girls.  We were all just children, our thoughts transmitters of the adults around us. 

Darlene, Lisa and I were running around and playing together.  There was no color in our eyes or hearts, there were just three young girl friends playing at a football game.  How grown up we felt getting to be on our own at a high school football game.  It was dark and the game must have been going full force.  Out of no where my Mother came up and grabbed Darlene's arm.  She said to her to go back to her father and stay there.  That the three of us could not play any longer.  She then grabbed Lisa and I and took us to the car.  Lisa was sent to sit in the stands with her parents.  I don't remember where Mother and I went.  All I know was that I was hurt and confused.  I was embarrassed that my Mother had done that.  Not because of race, but because any tweenager would be embarrassed to have their Mother act like that.  I think my Mother tried to explain what she had done.  I know that all of a sudden I realized it had to do with Darlene being black.  I had never realized that my parents could be prejudiced like that.  I didn't talk back, I didn't question, but it was an open wound in my heart that I carried around for a long time.

I remember trying to fit in and say the bigoted words at times, but it just was not right and I did not feel comfortable with that.  I remember talking to my Mother about it many years later and that is when I found out that a couple of red necks, big men.  Well, in size, not mental ability, had gone to my Mother and had told her that if they saw Lisa and I playing with that "n*****" again they would kill Darlene.  That it was not appropriate for the daughter of a state representative to be seen running around with a "n*****"  I asked Mother why had she not explained it to us then.  She said we were too young to understand that kind of hatred.  That her only concern was not to let anything happen to the three of us.  She was not sure that they would not have hurt all of us.  And the only thing she could think of to make sure that Darlene was safe was to act like she had.  She had thought about it over the years.  It was obviously a very painful memory for my Mother.  It is still a painful memory for me.  

Later another incident occurred involving Darlene and me.  I was babysitting for my regular kids.  They had an older brother who was a year older then I was.  The best friend of this older brother was a boy who had a crush on Darlene.  When I would babysit he would get me to call Darlene's home and ask for her.  I did once.  But I hated it.  Not because he was white and she was black.  No because he had had a lot of girl friends come through that house.  I did not respect him and I did not think he was good enough for her.  I think she knew that I did not approve of her relationship with this boy.  I don't know if she realized that it was because I admired her so much.  I was very immature and had not gotten to the point of understanding dating and liking boys, etc.  I just knew this boy was trouble.

I have tried to forgive myself for my actions and words from that time.  Actually reading the Secret Life of Bees really did help, because there was a young white girl living in a multi colored world and she did not question what was right or wrong, she was just another child born in a time when the world was confused.  When we believed that the world is black and white, good and bad, republican or democrat.  We still have serious hang ups involving having to see the world as democratic or communist.  

Seeing things as yes or no can be useful.  It helps us to create the computer world we know now, which is made up of "0" and "1".  For computing that might be just fine.  But for people and animals and how we see the world.  How can it be a good thing that we only see ourselves as better then others.  I always think that the worst of the seven deadly sins is vanity.  I know it nails me every time.  And is this not what makes us want to think we are superior to other people. That we are superior to animals or plants or anything not human.

I don't think that Dr. King's message was for black people.  I think his message was for people.  He talked about all of us getting along and that someday children would grow up and appreciate and love our differences as much as our similiarities.  I think he is a great human being because he made a difference in all of our lives, regardless of race or religion or whatever.
Will we finally destroy ourselves and this beautiful blue and green orb by our belief that we are superior to everything else?  Will we ever be able to spread our wings and soar through space and reach the farthest galaxies?  Not as long as we hold anyone or anything back.  Not as long as we think in black and white.  Not as long as we measure our success by being the best that we can be only by comparing ourselves to others.   


  1. This is beautiful. Written from the heart, as all your posts are. I am from Singapore and admire Dr King very much, for what he has done. Thank you for all your sharing and I look forward to reading many more.

  2. this is why i get up and do what i do every day- because dr. king's words were meant to bring freedom to ALL people of ALL color, persuasion and creed. i have enjoyed meeting you through ms. moon and your strength and grace are something i will think and reflect on as i steel myself for another day in a school in a place which some consider the worse school district in the worst city of our nation. we too shall overcome....


  3. Yea, I hear ya sister. I know first hand how mean people can be just because of someone's skin colr. I'm still remembering my first fist fights as a CHILD...growing up with a half black brother in the south during the 1950's, have a cross burn in my yard at the age of six, and seeing one of the scary cowards was your very own evil grandmother. Yea, I do understand very well. I guess I was just born to be a fighter...LOL...good thing it became "cool" to be Native American, or I might still have to be fighting!!! LOL And now, everybody and their brother "claims" to have "some indian blood"...LOL
    Miss ya sis, love ya tons, hope to see ya soon!
    Love, Love, Sioux