Monday, January 16, 2017
When History Changes You
When we would get Martin Luther King Day off school, I was grateful for the extra day. I didn't think much past that because in that time, I was like most kids- self involved and glad to be able to sleep in. I knew there were breakfasts and parades and events honoring Dr. King but that was about it. It has been in my lifetime that Black History Month became a nationally recognized thing but I don't remember it being prominent until I was a teenager and again, being ignorant and white, I assumed that black history wasn't my history so it didn't pertain to me. How wrong was I?
Within the past 5 years, we made two trips to Memphis. On the second one, I said I wanted to see the National Civil Rights Museum because frankly, I was embarrassed I knew so little about MLK and the civil rights movement. It is set up at the Lorraine Motel where he was killed.
It is chilling to be in the same place that such an event in history has taken place with it looking just the same. What makes it more surreal is touring the museum after you've seen the documentary they show you at the beginning of your visit called The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306. That documentary had me bawling like a friggin' baby within about 10 minutes. It provides insight and a retelling of the events by a man who was one of King's friends and there that day that will forever change you.
The black glass in the middle is actually where you can stand inside the museum to see the building where the shot came from (and you can tour that building as well.) The inside of the room is set up the way it was when Dr. King and his friends were there that fateful day. I again stood there crying like a baby because after having watched that documentary, I could see his feet from the angle inside that a picture had been taken. I own the DVD and we watch it every MLK Day to remind ourselves that all history is our history no matter what your color and though things are better in some regards, we have a ridiculously long way to go.
I was able to track down the documentary online and if you have 30 minutes tonight, I beg of you whether you like history or not, please give it a watch.
It's true reality TV that will actually change you for the better and not rot brain cells from listening to millennial vocal fry. It will give you an appreciation for the holiday and I promise you will never be the same.
Happy Martin Luther King Day all.
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