An MLK Day Thought

Photo by Gotta Be Worth It on

Greetings. Frank from Beach Walk Reflections here. Thank you, Marc for accepting this post.

Today is MLK Day – the commemorating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr – the day to celebrate and reflect upon civil rights – the day that I unfortunately also ponder racism. A news story made me think today, then I wrote.

I think about growing up during the 1960s – spending my youth in a small town in rural southeastern Ohio that is considered as a part of Appalachia. Growing up in a place never knowing why many Blacks lived in another section of town – a dirt road up a hill – seemingly out of the way.

After consolidating with other small schools in our area, I came to know and respect a classmate. What a great guy – and I still think highly of him! Not long ago, he told something important. I never knew his father took him to get a haircut in a town 15 miles away. More importantly, I never knew why. He just thought it was the way it was. He gave me more examples as we talked, and I shook my head at the societal shame.

I think back at seeing the news of the race riots in the late 1960s, but not understanding. I think back to the March on Washington and Dr. King’s famous I Have a Dream speech, but not understand. I sadly proclaim my ignorance. But today, I am also thinking about people I know. People that are close to me in some way.

People who refer to Blacks as goons. People who think wearing a black face is funny. People who in discussions include an unnecessary fact of someone is Black.

People who believe Martin Luther King, Jr. was a communist. People who say they celebrate the day gathered around a Kingmus Tree. People who say their town doesn’t need to celebrate the day because no Blacks live in their town.

People who fear and hate people named Obama. People who fail to see racial injustice. People who hang their hats on Critical Race Theory while not knowing what it is. People who don’t even try to understand the events such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others.

Three people fail to reflect. Three people who resist learning. Three people who are unwilling to admit that they were wrong then and still wrong now. Three people in my circle who I consider to be the most racist people I know. Three people who cause me to hang my head in shame. Three people who show me what not to say – what not to do. And how many more people are like these three? I still have faults, but at least I’m trying.

This is the video essay sparking my thoughts …

… and a song for the day. If you prefer Alicia Keys, click here.

19 thoughts on “An MLK Day Thought

  1. Frank,

    There are still so many racists amongst us. We must not give them a voice in our circle.
    I think of your comments on not knowing. But you learned. And you grew and you made it a point to understand. Like Maya Angelou said: Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better. This post is proof that you do.
    A thoughtful post for this day in the States.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Video wasn’t available in this country unfortunately. MLK spoke for all of us. He has shown us the way we need to move forward anyone who can’t understand that perhaps should find another planet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam,
      The first video was from CBS News – and past experience tells me their work doesn’t go outside the US. Try searching “Anna Tubbs essay mothers” Hearing various MLK words yesterday were a bit chilling – words that are still applicable today – words showing how far we still have to go.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. It is a day of remembrance and reflection and I’m sorry that there are people in your orbit that still think and hang onto racist ideals. But it’s a good thing that you’re reflecting, trying to do better and educating. Knowing that we’re still … still battling what he struggled and suffered for is disheartening. We should be in a better place but unfortunately people were emboldened by a small, hateful, and spiteful mind. Stopping and remembering history and honoring people like MLK Jr, Malcom X, James Baldwin, and Medger Evers is important. Honoring the mothers and parents that raised them is also a good way of seeing how their own values developed and why they reached heights with such strength and courage.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Guat,
      Life is unquestionably a journey – a journey requiring reflection. We are in a better place today, but a place that isn’t a stopping point, and certainly not the end. Maybe humanity isn’t capable of reaching that Nirvana. You obviously watched the video about the mothers. After seeing that this morning, I checked the library on its availability. I hope I can follow through with my thought. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 3 people

      • You’re right, it’s not a stopping point. I have to remember that. I’m glad you included the clip as I hadn’t seen it before. Sending you strength so you can follow through on your thoughts and goals.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Frank

    I spent my adolescence in Howard Beach, never thinking about all the division in my little corner of the world. It would eventually explode in 1986 when the neighborhood made national news. I never let my surroundings define me though, thanks to a mother who would have whipped my ass if I had.

    The Reverend King’s work has not been in vain, no matter how much it may seem so at times. His life’s purpose is still guiding many of us.

    Thank you for posting this

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marc,
      Dr. King’s work is definitely not in vain. Although we’ve made progress, we still have a helluva long way to go. I heard several of his quotes yesterday. Amazing how they are still applicable today … and will be for some time. Thanks for letting me post this. FYI: The haircut guy in the story read this … and he approved.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I really loved this Marco. I always remember Bobby Kennedy’s speech the night MLK was killed from the back of a flat truck in Indianapolis where he spoke without notes, from his heart, after being told not to go it would be too dangerous. But in true Bobby fashion went anyway, and Indianapolis was the only city that didn’t riot that fateful night. He’d be gone soon as well. sigh

    Liked by 1 person

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