Monday, January 18, 2010

Today is a special day...

I woke up this Monday morning, held my grandson, and watched the movie, "The Long Walk Home" with Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek...and cried.


photo from jhs1968.com

Today is a special day for me...as a black woman born in America from parents who lived in the segregated south, and who now has the first black President as the leader of this great country...the seeds of which where planted back in the 50s when a young black man rose up to lead an extraordinary movement...Martin Luther King, Jr.

I know for some today is just an extra day off from work...or a day that's inconvenienced by the fact that the banks, post offices and government offices are closed.  But for me today is just as special as Christmas or Easter (because of my religious affiliations) as a personal cultural day...because it is steeped in meaning.

I'm sure I've told this story before because whenever I think of Martin Luther King, Jr. this is what comes to mind...my mother and my aunt & uncle getting dressed in their Sunday best to go to the polls and vote for the very first time.  My mother was in her late 20s...my aunt and uncle were older...and it was the very first time they could vote

Now I know many people think that we as Black Americans have come a long way in such a short time...and I guess if you look at the fact that Barack Obama is President it seems so...but that was just 45 years ago...not a lifetime or even a generation ago...quite a few of you who read my ramblings weren't even born yet...or were only small children.  This is an event that has clearly taken place in OUR lifetimes.

I ran across this article on The Buzz Log today...it gives such a clear understanding of the meaning and importance of this holiday.  Please take a moment to read it and watch the video clip at the end...and realize that we've come far as a nation but we do have a little further to go.  And then take another moment, a minute of silence if you will, and give thanks that we live in such a wonderful nation that can bring about such momentous change in our society by our people.

Also, if you haven't taken the time yet to give to the Haitian relief efforts, please do so!  There are many places on the web that you can give, but The Red Cross is my organization of choice.

...as always, more later.

23 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Carolyn. It's easy to take for granted the privileges or rights we have today and forget the fact that for some it was a fight to get them. I come from a whole different culture but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate what your mother and relatives went through. I hope you have a happy day! (I hope that came out right - I'm sure you know where my heart is.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Carolyn, I remember reading your tribute to Martin Luther kIng day last year because I had just started reading a lot of sewing blogs in January. This is another beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing what this holiday means to you. I feel lucky to be connected to more people through blogging and to get a little bit of insight into how the world looks through other people's eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is very touching and such a good reminder for us all. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Carolyn! I love this day and what we all remember. Sometimes I'm ashamed of my country and get discouraged but we HAVE come a long way. May the momentum of the last 45 years continue. I'll do my part even if it only means hacking away to improve the content of my own character.

    ReplyDelete
  5. your words touch my heart.
    Ainara

    ReplyDelete
  6. Carolyn, today is indeed a special day. How lucky for your grandson, that he has a grandma who can tell him the story about great-grandma going to vote for the very first time. This country has come a long way, but it does still have a long way to go. I hope that by the time your grandson is old enough to run for president, no one will feel they have to make an issue about the color of his skin. In the meanwhile, I'll keep praying for that day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Carolyn, good post. MLK Day should be more than just a Fed holiday and excuse to have a day off. BTW, just ignore the haters.

    I like the new header for your blog too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Lovely posting....and a reminder that this IS a special holiday. A great man to be remembered.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am praying for the day when we don't remember any of the struggles that people went through to gain the rights and privileges that are God given to us all. I pray for the day that we are all colorblind and that we as a human race embrace one another as we should. God created us all to be equal from the inside out. I as a white woman from the South who remembers desegregation and watching the nightly news about the unjustices, want to say to you that I am sorry for the way my fellowmen and women treated your parents and grandparents. I was aware of the prejudices that were in place then, and even now, but thank God I wasn't raised to feel that way. I pray that each day that goes by that more and more will see the light and realize that we are all the same in God's eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for sharing your story Carolyn. It brings more meaning to this special day.
    Hope your day was wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It IS a special day, Carolyn, for sure. He was one of our greatest Americans. Thank you for posting your story and this tribute.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The moral arc of the universe: bending toward justice.

    And may there be peace for you and your family,

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Carolyn, thanks for reminding us all that this is not just another day off!

    On the night when Obama was elected president, my 7 year old DGD was shocked by my tears. "What's so special, Mimee?" I suppose I should be comforted by the fact that she doesn't think there is anything unusual about a black man being elected president in this country where only a few decades ago he wouldn't have been allowed to vote. But still, I had to tell her what I remember about growing up white in the South. I was embarrassed by much of what I shared with her.
    xox
    Cissie

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Carolyn,

    Normally a lurker, I had to comment on this post as it had such meaning for me. I cam to this country as an immigrant and my kids were born here. I feel so incredibly thankful that this country is great because of people like MLK. I love the fact that this is a special day to honor Dr King; a day we can all share regardless of background or religion. My daughter aged 9 with her 4th grade class won a local poetry contest to commemorate this day. Several of them got to read out their poems at a community breakfast on saturday and I could not be more proud!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us all.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Inspirational words and well worth remembering that our gains have not been without sacrifice. We are a blessed nation and thank you for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My favourite holiday, although it is a shame that they replaced Lincoln's birthday with "president's day". Thank you for the tribute. Our nation still suffers terribly from its roots in slavery and the genocide of native american people; yet we rejoice in the other current of American thought, towards freedom and justice for all.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Carolyn, I share in your feelings (although I know I can't possibly really know what it was like to live through segregation and all it's evils)that it took far too long for African Americans to win the right to vote and to finally elect one of their own to the White House.All I can think to say is "Congratulations" as you honour that great man.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What a beautiful post commemorating yesterday's holiday. Even living in wacky LA where anything goes, it's still obvious that things aren't perfect, but it's amazing how far things have come.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for your post, Carolyn. Although it's hard for me to remember some of it, I do remember the 60's and struggles for equality. And thank God for our President, who thinks before he acts, and seems to really care about Americans AND people around the world. And thank God we had the sense to elect him.

    ReplyDelete
  21. PS That is one of my favorite movies of all time.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I memorised Dr King's "I had a dream" speech when I was 10, in Australia, for a play. I had no idea then who he was. I lived in the US for almost 10 years, and came to have so much more of understanding of what that meant. I had to leave the US before the last election, and sad as I was not to be there anymore, I was *so proud* to see Obama's election. This day is always a reminder of how far we (in the world) have come, and how far we all have to go.
    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us!
    (and I hope I don't sound ridiculously in saying all that :/)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Carolyn,
    Thanks so much for this post. Today (2/1/2010) is the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-ins and the opening of the new Civil Rights museum in the very same Woolworth building where the sit-ins took place. I saw the Peay brothers sing the national anthem in gospel style and just cried, thinking that 50 years after the sit-ins, we have an African American president and a gospel group can sing the national anthem as truly their own. We have a long long way to go, but it is amazing that just 50 years after those sit-ins set everything rolling, we have come this far.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails