We have spent the last week in the South. Lloyd had a conference in Nashville and Jake and I accompanied him on the trip. Since he would be occupied with meetings, we took the opportunity to visit friends on Birmingham for a couple of days. We decided to take the kids to the Civil Rights Museum. I’m not sure what I was expecting…..or perhaps I wasn’t expecting the reactions we had. To start, the friend I was with is married to an African-American and her son is bi-racial. At one point, Jake turned to me and said, “Mom, of it weren’t for people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, I wouldn’t be able to play with Brandon!”. He’s absolutely right and I was so happy that he was really “getting it”…after all, that was the point of the museum. He became increasingly indignent as we proceeded through the museum….asking me WHY we would treat people this way. WHY on earth would people burn crosses when the cross was a symbol of forgiveness and freedom from sin? I didn’t have a lot of answers for him. But, I was proud of him for feeling such empathy. At the end of the tour, we got to hear/see MLK’s I Have a Dream speech and Jake applauded throughout. As for me, I was equally as appalled. And I wondered to myself if I would have been one of those that cheered on the Freedom Riders as they made their way toward New Orleans. Even more….would I have been willing to endure the persecution. I like to think that I would have been.
So as we look forward to hearing Barack Obama’s speech at the DNC ( which, incidentally will occur on the anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech), I am even more hopeful for our country…and for the America that Jake will have the opportunity to experience.