I Have A Dream
Mourning the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is something that we should not be doing. We should be celebrating his life. As a child, I was not told much about Dr. King except that he had a great dream that all men would be created equal. I didn’t know much else about him. I knew that he was the leader of the Civil Rights Movement and that he was killed. It would not be until years later that I would learn on my own out of curiosity just how infectious Dr. King was and why. I was nineteen when I finally read the entire I Have a Dream Speech and I was blown away by hope and simplicity. It seemed simple enough that we should have hope and that hope would, in fact, lead us to a better place. How naïve I was as a child. When we are children, we have childish thoughts. I was twenty-three having a conversation with a group of my friends about the state of Black America and what it was we needed to do. Oh yes, I had a dream too, though it was nothing like Dr. Kings, it too would become deferred. I was more of a Malcolm X type. I am more of a do now, ask forgiveness later type person.
I sat at the library at Roosevelt University and look at the microfiche of old newspapers. I wanted to understand what the problem was. I think that Universe is our mind and our thoughts bring to us those things which we seek. I couldn’t understand why Black people had accepted the treatment that they had for so long. The Universe said that it would show me. I was selected by my English Professor to attend a literary debate at Northwestern University. I was excited. Northwestern was where I wanted to go to school. Northwestern produced some of the world’s greatest journalists. Well, my dream of how wonderful the school would become a nightmare when a group of white students threatened me and the one other black female that was in attendance. I went back the next day. I am not one who is easily intimidated. There were racial slurs written on the bathroom stalls. I was hurt and disappointed, but I understood. Right away the Universe stepped in and said, “Now you can see the light.” I could. I understood. Images of Dr. King laying on the balcony flashed through my mind. The image I had seen of Malcolm X lying dead, on a stretcher with crowds of onlookers not knowing what to do. An unrecognizable face of a fourteen-year-old boy frightened my mind back to the present. I understood. I was not afraid. I was not leaving. I would not be moved. I earned my place. I would stay right there. I did stay right there. I made it through the week. I wanted to know more.
Research had me dazed and confused about the murder of Alberta Williams King, the mother of Dr. King. She too was murdered, right in the very church that her husband pastored and by a black man. I read that her husband was the intended target, but he was not there that day, so her life was snatched. It didn’t stop there. Dr. King’s baby brother, A.D. King was found dead at the bottom of a swimming pool. It was reported that the did not have water in his lungs, meaning that he was already dead and not breathing when he was thrown into the pool. It was also noted that his body was found in the fetal position, but like so many others his death was not ruled a murder, but instead an accident. I wondered how a family with such great talent and hope could be marred by such darkness. The Universe responded, “To whom much is given, much is required.” From that day on I never asked why me and meant it. Jokingly, my sister and I use that phrase when something dumb happens to us, but I never ask why me when it was anything else. I took it like a champion fighter. I was knocked down and sometimes knocked out, but it made me better, stronger. I never wanted to be a victim of circumstance. As I progressed in the Corporate America, I learned that the color of my skin, as well as my sexuality, would be a hindrance for some and a reason for others to only say, no without rhyme or reason. I went from job to job making sure not to forget the lessons I had been taught. After twenty-five years of dealing with more “NO’s” then any person should have to I decided just to say, “screw it.” I would like to say that I got there all on my own, but I didn’t. I got there because of my curiosity. My wanting to know more about the names that had been thrown at me, the people that I was told to honor without cause. I wanted to know more, so I found out more. In my journey, the Universe was my private tour guide.
There have been suggestions that maybe Dr. King had an affair and that he was not a loyal and devoted husband. I don’t know, and we will never know two sides of the story because one side was quieted far too soon and everything else would simply be hearsay. We are aware for sure that the leader of our country in 2017 is a racist, a womanizer and probably a communist spy, but yet we are asked to respect him. He should respect himself. My respect is limited for those who have traveled the same Universal road as I have and that does not mean just Black people or just women; it means whoever fits the Universal definition.
I can’t say that I remember Dr. King. I was not yet born. I can say, I appreciate the dream, and even though we seem to be taking leaps and bounds backward, I can still see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not over, and the next time it will be FIRE.