Remembering MLK Jr.

January 18th, 2010 by

Marching to Freedom by Joyce Milton

Marching to Freedom by Joyce Milton

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and you know what that means — a day off! 😀 [insert shower of confetti here]

Personally, I’m very happy not to be in the office today. And I’m sure you’re not overly disappointed about a break from school either. I don’t know about you, but I plan to take full advantage of the holiday — which in my case means a huge array of desserts and a marathon of the TV show Chuck.

But before rotting my teeth with sugar and rotting my brain with TV, I decided to spend a little time honoring MLK, since it is his day and all. I have to admit that I don’t do that every year. But I figured, “Hey, maybe I should recommend a book about MLK on Kidsmomo or something…” So I picked up this one: Marching to Freedom: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Joyce Milton. And it’s AWESOME!

But I know reading a biography may not be exactly the way you want to spend your day off, so I’ve done you all a little favor and reproduced my favorite part of the book here, for your reading enjoyment. (You can thank me later.) It’s definitely not light reading, but it’s really interesting — and taught me something I never knew about MLK before! This is a description of a momentous bus ride that King took with his teacher when he was 14 years old:

Suddenly, the bus driver started yelling at them. Some new passengers were boarding the bus — white passengers. “Get up, you two,” the driver shouted. “The white folks want to sit down.”

Mrs. Bradley started to gather her belongings. But she didn’t move fast enough to suit the driver. He began to curse. “You black —— ——. You git up. Now!”

M.L. sat frozen in his seat. No one had ever talked to him that way before.

“Come on now, M.L.,” Mrs. Bradley whispered. “We have to move. It’s the law.”

He ignored her.

The driver swore at them again. He was so red in the face that he seemed almost ready to explode.

M.L. looked at the driver. Then he looked at Mrs. Bradley. He could see that she was really scared now.

Ever so slowly M.L. stood up.

“That night will never leave my memory,” he [Martin Luther King, Jr.] said years later. “It was the angriest I have ever been in my life.”

If you want more of MLK’s story, check out the whole book. For now, I’ll leave you with this quote from the book, in the spirit of today’s holiday. Because Martin Luther King Day marks his birthday, but it’s also important to commemorate his death — killed way before his time because of hate…

Martin Luther King Day was celebrated across the nation for the first time in 1986. Many speakers on that day recalled a quotation from the Old Testament story of Joseph and his brothers:

“Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him… and we shall see what will become of his dreams.”

Now Martin Luther King, Jr., belonged to history. It will be up to new generations to say what will become of his dreams of freedom and equality for all.

— Karen

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