Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Black History Month - Coretta Scott King

On a day that marked the beginning of Black History Month and the confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice, Coretta Scott King's death today draws attention to just why the examination of black history is so vitally important. The examination of history is relevant, in my opinion to understand the people, the societal influences, and the context that events occurred in to gain a greater understanding of how future generations were shaped by the courageous actions of many. Regardless of how people felt about Martin Luther King's triumphs and character flaws, I think that he was probably the most significant single figure in the 20th century regardless of what Time Magazine feels. The fact remains that his dedication to non-violent protest to brings about social change in a time that it was not really welcomed continues to my chagrin to be understated. Imagine what would happen if there was no movement to push for equal treatment of all of the races and equal opportunities to succeed and build economic wealth and a prosperous future for future generations. There would continue to be a large degree of discrimination in may areas of society. We would be eating in segregated restaurants and going to segregated schools. Our children would never have the opportunity to understand how to deal with situations that are out of their control. And most importantly, their would be a lessened belief in the promises of America. This is why Dr. King's legacy has still more ground to cover.

As I read news accounts about Mrs. King's life I couldn't help but feel that although it is suggested that she was a long-suffering wife and mother, she had a tremendous influence over the civil rights movement as well. Although it has been widely rumored and speculated that Dr. King strayed, I think that she provided him with a comfort that we probably would never understand. Just looking at pictures of her after her husband's death, she appeared to be the picture of calm and grace. She had stresses in her marriage that she had to deal with, but she never appeared to be burdened by them. When you try to judge the Kings from the outside, you will never understand them, because you were never involved in their life. The only thing that we have to hold on to is his great legacy that benefited all of us.

This is what I will focus on, not the complexities of two people who obviously brought out the best in each other.

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