Happy Birthday MLK   4 comments

We’ve had an interesting week here talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks and Barack Obama and civil rights. Violet’s kindergarten is talking about this and she’s very interested and asking a lot of questions. I’m trying my best to explain the things which simply don’t make sense.

During the inaugural concert,  Obama stood before the Lincoln Memorial and Violet said, “Who is that statue?” I told her he was a very great president named Abraham Lincoln,  editing out his freeing the slaves because I haven’t yet explained slavery.  She expressed worry that “Lebrahan Penguin” was going to try and be president when it was Obama’s turn.

We also read a book on Rosa Parks where I skipped over the part about the lynching of 14 year old Emmet Till.  We’ve spent a week talking about why black people had to sit in the back of the bus.  She told me that her teacher, Miss Davis, was ten years old when Martin Luther King died and asks if Miss Davis sat in the back of the bus.  I can’t tell her, yet, that it was so much worse than that.

At the end of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman movie, Violet asked why the snowman has to melt and make a sad ending.   I told her the boy is going to build another snowman and it will come to life, too. That sometimes there are happy endings that they don’t show you.  (Because I have sad ending disorder.)

Today we were watching  Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream Speech. Violet had been learning about it in school and wanted to hear it.  Midway through she said, “Was Martin Luther King ever funny? Like with his kids or something?”  It disturbed her that he’s in black and white and his voice is serious and the people look so sad.  Then she pointed to a corner of the screen, the date said “August 28, 1963.”  And she laughed.  August 28, 2003  is Violet’s birthday.

When it ended we were back talking about why bad people would want to hurt a good person (she doesn’t even know about Lebrahan Penguin) and why Martin Luther King was killed and had a sad ending.  She is thinking for a while and says, “Is Martin Luther King friends with Obama?” She asks.

“Yes,” I say, “I think they’re very good friends.”

“Oh,” she asks, “then did Martin Luther King get a happy ending because Barack Obama won?”

“Yes,” I reply, “I think he does.”


Posted January 19, 2009 by julieklam in Obama

4 responses to “Happy Birthday MLK

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  1. Just when I think I can’t love your words any more then I already do; along comes this piece. Thank-you for this Julie,and thanks to Violet for asking such GOOD questions!

  2. Hi! I was already emotional today… about MLK, mothers and daughters, tomorrow, the future and hoping beyond hope that nothing can change the mood of our country.
    As I read your words my tears just flowed. I could no longer hold in the feeling of wanting to share this with my mother and grandmother who are no longer here.
    I often read reviews of your book that said how funny it is and it is… but I wanted to add there is alot of insight in your memoir of how a young girl grows to understand and appreciate her family while they are still alive.
    It was one of the main reasons I wanted to share it with my daughter and my sisters.
    And I LOVE how you shared your words with us today! Thank you Julie! Lisamarie

  3. this was beautiful. you’re a peach.

  4. Splendid Julie,
    Your words so very eloquent…when all people speak and teach their children with truth and from the heart…then the change we seek will be upon us…you are resplendent!!!


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