Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Time For Hope - Living In A Historic Time

I just wiped a tear from my eye. I was crying because I sincerely believe I am about to see a very historic day. A day when our country, languishing in the grip of irrational fear and the politics of hate, is standing up and demanding that things change.

What stirred me was reading the text of a speech delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Martin Luther King Day. It brought back memories I hadn’t recalled in several years. At the risk of being overly nostalgic, I’ll share them with you.

I remember sitting in the den of my home as a young boy. I was home because it was summer, but I was inside because I had been having one of my many bouts with asthma. I was seated in front of our black and white television, watching the news. Even as a child the events of the day fascinated me, and since I was to be soon entering middle school, knowing current events was important.

My family had a housekeeper who came once a week to help my mother with ironing and cleaning. She was a wonderful woman named Clara, who worked not only for my family, but for my grandmother, uncles and aunts. I had known her most of my life and she played a big part in my childhood. Clara was African-American, though she called herself “colored”.

That morning Clara was ironing clothes in the den watching the news with me. It was August 28, 1963 and the news that morning was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his amazing “I Have a Dream” speech that day and I remember seeing Clara cry as she listened. Before it was over, I was crying, too. I knew I was watching something historic.

Here is the text of the speech delivered by Barack Obama January 20, of this year. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me. If you find yourself waxing nostalgic, you are not alone. That nostalgia was for a period of greatness in our country, when American’s began standing up to the climate of fear and institutions of racism. Today, I am grateful that much of that oppression is behind us, but the climate of fear has ruled our nation for the past 8 years. Now it’s time to give hope a try.

No comments: