Thursday, February 02, 2006

Coretta: Living the Legacy

This week, we learned of the passing of Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is a poignant time as we observe Black History Month (boy, have I got a blog for you on the subject of our "month")... We are witnessing the generation of Freedom Fighters pass on, leaving the legacy to us to carry on, nurture and build upon.

I am a child of the Movement - too young to march, but old enough to hear the conversations, the meetings in church, old enough to know the words to "We Shall Overcome" and understand what it meant. Old enough to understand when Grandma told me that things would be better for me and my generation...Old enough to understand when my Dad took us to Texas, his home state and showed us the Colored Only/Whites Only way of life.....and I hear him even now telling me to "get an education, stand up straight... look them in the eye and walk in the same door as them... don't cow tow to them"...In Dad's town, they had to move off the sidewalk when white folk approached...

I remember so vividly, the photo of Mrs. King in her black mourning clothing at the funeral of Dr. King... It was on the cover of Ebony.... I used to study her face and wonder what was going through her mind... She looked so regal, even at a time when we were saying "if they would kill King, then what will they do to us?"

I lost my Dad last year... and I find myself really worrying if I am the man he raised me to be... Am I living up to his legacy? Am I the man he prepared me to be in this world? Oh yes, I've had my ups and downs in this life... some instances where I know he wasn't so proud.. but am I really living up to his name? Someone told me that this is part of a grieving process. That's funny. I don't feel like I'm grieving.. Grieving is when I break down and cry at the oddest times, thinking about him (yes, I still have those moments). At any rate, I just wonder what kind of legacy am I living as he prepared me for this life...

So too, I now wonder what kind of legacy are we living for Mother King... Mother Parks... Mother Hamer.... Mrs. King said nonviolence.. ok, we got non violence against the system, but we are brutally violent against one another... I even heard a story the other day about the escalation of crime in a certain part of Houston, Texas. It is a section that is filled with evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. These are black folk, mostly, but they are becoming victim to brutal attacks from black folk from Houston. Schoolyard riots are breaking out- Houston vs. New Orleans, Graffitti around the projects cursing New Orleans... People upset at the evacuees, cursing thier mention.. In Los Angeles, gang warfare is a regular report on television and when you walk through the neighborhood, black folk are more angry at one another than at the system.

The music and culture of African Americans is tainted with debaucherous songs, clothing styles and actions
of some that are lewd, rude and crude... I mean it's interesting to note that gangstas can be the top pop stars in America....
As a child of the movement, I see that these are our children... What have we done? What have we allowed to happen?

What kind of legacy are we living for Mother King.... Mother Parks... Mother Hamer... They are gone now, so it's up to us to make a difference.... Are we? Or has the Dream passed on with our elders?

No comments: