207. I Have a Dream

I’ve told my personal story regarding justice for black citizens several times, and I fleshed it out over a month and a half in February and March of this year. Here is a brief reprise for those who weren’t following yet.

I was born and raised in a small Oklahoma town with no blacks in sight. My father was a Baptist deacon and lay minister, and a dominating man. I never disagreed with him – out loud. He did not hate blacks – really, he didn’t. He expected to see many of them in heaven. He did think they had their place, ordained by God, and they would be happy if they only kept to it. He considered Martin Luther King an agitator and an evil man.

I agreed with his views of God and man when I was very young, but by my teen years I was beginning to question both. Silently question, that is. There was no discussion in our house, only my father’s statements ex cathedra and our silent nods. My final conversion away from his thinking on race came when black marchers were washed down the street by fire hoses in Selma and elsewhere.

This Sunday is the anniversary of the March on Washington, and Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. When it happened, it passed me by. At the time, I was wrestling with my father’s views on God. My change of view on race was a couple of years in my future.

In our house, it was just another speech by that self-serving agitator King.

When I was doing research for posts earlier this year, I became aware of Philip Randolph, who orchestrated the March on Washington. Shamefully, I had never heard of him. At that time I said that I would find out more about him, and I did. His story is worth telling, but it isn’t mine to tell. I had planned a post detailing the March, but that isn’t my story, either. I’ve decided to leave both to those who fought the battles while I was still coming to realize that there was a war.

The story of the March on Washington isn’t mine to tell, but it changed my life, as it changed all of our lives, even if I didn’t know it at the time.


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