It is Martin Luther King Day and my husband was ready. He has had a framed poster of Reverend King’s most famous speech, “I Have A Dream” hanging on the wall since before he married his brown wife. Every year, my white husband pulls it off the wall and tries to convey the importance of the man, the marches and the challenges of the Civil Rights’ Movement. I really think it’s so sweet.
Our children are 7, 5 and 2.
Many of you may be quietly giggling at the size of the lesson being doled out to such little children.
I am just as interested in beating this horse. I have tried to pass this lesson on to them myself in my own way. You can read about my lessons using books throughout Black History Month in last year’s post, My Bloods Not Black. My son declared those words when I tried to explain to him that he too is black.
News Flash! My kid had no idea.
Today my husband read aloud an excerpt from the speech. We talked about how brave Reverend King was to keep speaking out even though people around him were being beat, lynched, bombed, denounced and raped. We talked about courage. We talked about how it must have felt to see all of those people from all over the country and all different backgrounds show up at the Mall to support him.
Then my eldest asked if he could have a cookie.
Mom: After all of that you ask me for a cookie!
And we laughed.
Isaiah: I’m done with my dinner and cookies are good. (minor charming smile)
Mom: Okay but you need to know this. What we are talking about is important. You come from the people they were marching for. Your great-great-grandfather was born a slave. Your great-grandmother was escorted off of a military base because they refused to serve her a meal in a mess hall. Your grandmother was disowned for marrying a black man. Those are the people you come from and all of the people in that photo were marching for you.
Isaiah: Oh. I really didn’t know that. (minor awe)
Mom: Dear Lord, I think it might be sinking in! Thank you Jesus!
It was a good conversation. I still feel like we are following our goal of learning culture above race. We are teaching pride in our heritage. Whether it be Hungarian or African…or German….or Irish….or Caribbean…or Italian….
No really. My ancestors were apparently big fans of culture too because they sure didn’t discriminate too much.
Happy “Free At Last” Day!….well, almost. I’m sure it’s coming.