Today is Martin Luther King day and all the kids are home from school. Government workers and postal employees get the day off, but for most people it's just another day. I spent the day cleaning the house, washing clothes, shampooing the carpet again where the dog peed again and later discovering that my refrigerator is dying (it peed all over the kitchen floor). It rained today and so in San Diego that means that everyone tries to stay home because we hate the cold ( below 60), because we don't know how to drive in the rain, and because we hate the cold. Needless to say I didn't really celebrate MLK day. I have often thought it was a dumb holiday thrown in at a time of the year when we don't need any more days off . But today I made an effort to learn more about the man. Here's what I discovered
1. He graduated from high school at 15
2. In 1955 he led the bus boycott that lasted 382 days
3. During the boycott he was arrested and his home was bombed
4. In 11 years he traveled over 6 million miles, spoke 2,500 times and wrote 5 books
5. He was arrested 20 times & assaulted 4 times
6. He was awarded 5 honorary degrees.
7. He was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963
8. He was 35 when he received the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest man ever
9. He donated his prize money, $54,123 to further the Civil Rights movement
10. On April 4th 1968 he was assassinated
In college I was required to write an essay about discrimination. After I thought about it for a while I came to the conclusion that I didn't know anything about discrimination. I am a tall, thin, white, middle-class, educated and married woman. If I have ever experienced discrimination it has been very marginaly and certainly never to the degree that minorities know.
Martin Luther King day has yet to be commercialized so we really don't know what to do. We don't decorate our houses, send cards, buy presents or sing songs. Maybe in a couple of years MLK day will be bigger and more respected but for day I quietly sit at my keyboard and send a big thank you to a man who was truly remarkable, brave, determined and gifted and who made a big difference in the world.