This holiday Monday has found me in a pensive state. First of all I was reflecting on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the reason why I had a day off from school. He died when I was 8 years old and the only memory I have of that day is my mom ironing in front the television set. I remember she looked rather serious and when I asked her what was wrong, she stated that a man was killed. I knew it was a somber moment – and I think I even realized that it extended beyond the four walls of my house in Houston, TX….but I do not recall any other emotion tied to that day.
I normally teach To Kill a Mockingbird at this time of year – and I will go back to this schedule for all future years. This holiday is too precious to let it pass unnoticed by the students of America. This novel takes us back to a time in our nation’s history that I am ashamed. The evidence obviously clears Tom Robinson of any wrong doing and yet the jury of his peers (12 white farmers from Maycomb County, Alabama) decided his guilt based solely upon the color of his skin. It makes my skin crawl and my stomach churn when I think about that. I am so thankful for the Atticus Finch characters of this world – who live their life by defining moral values that do not consider the prejudiced opinions of the “moral majority”
The one thing that does not abide by majority’s rule is a person’s conscience (page 105)
While I remain rather a-political in my personal life, I am deeply grateful for those who chose to take a stand. For those who were willing to give their life so that I and my children could enjoy a world that “would judge them not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”
Thank you, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr!