It’s a snow day (well, ice day) here in Austin – there was lots of ice everywhere this morning. I’m sad, because I had planned on going with all the InterVarsity student leaders to the MLK celebration at UT this morning. Last night, I told the student leaders some of the things our staff team most admires about him – his understanding and practice of grace and non-violence, speaking up for Truth and against oppression, and also his vision for multiethnic community.
I’ve been thoughtful a lot of today – watched “American Experience: Citizen King” on PBS. (PBS has also been showing Eyes on the Prize – which is great). But the one I saw tonight focuses on Dr. King’s last 5 years. I never realized how young he was when he was assassinated – only 39.
Taylor Branch is an author who wrote a trilogy on America during King’s years. It took nearly 10 years for each volume of it – the first is Parting the Waters (1954-63), then Pillar of Fire (1963-65) and finally At Canaan’s Edge (1965-68). I read the first two several years ago (usually you can find them at half price books for not very much) – I had never studied this part of history in school, and was amazed by what I learned. One night, reading my book at a coffeeshop, I started to cry as I read about the children’s march in Birmingham (1963) – how nearly a thousand children were rounded up and arrested, how police dogs and fire hoses were used against these young protesters. I’m sure it looked quite strange to the others around – “That woman is crying into her tea because of a book?!?” The final book of the trilogy just came out last year, and I am looking forward to starting it soon.
Back at thanksgiving, I visited my godson Macrae and was able to give him this book called “Martin’s Big Words.” On the title page, I told him that Dr. King is one of my personal heroes, and that I hope he enjoys reading about him. It’s cool, because the book talks about how Martin’s dad was a preacher… Macrae’s dad is a pastor too. I got to read the book to him a couple times when I was there – it was so special. His parents are awesome, when we got to the part where it starts to talk about Rosa Parks and the bus boycott, he said… “hey… I know this story…” – he has a couple other books about the Civil Rights movement. Here’s a picture of us reading… and yes, my godson is wearing a cape… 🙂
The artwork in the book is AMAZING. I love it, and have given, or am giving the book to a couple other great kids I know. 🙂
Hope you also got to remember and celebrate Dr. King today, whether it was icy outside or not!