I realized I hadn’t blogged the holiday yesterday. Each year the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. means different things for me. What always strikes me as powerful is that he fought for the equality of everybody – and started to turn the coversation toward economic class – a definite taboo in our ‘free society’. Barrack Obama mentioning in his questions to Condi Rice today had a few seconds of kinship, noting that if it weren’t for the 60s, neither of them would be there.
This year I’m thinking of King in the sense of one person’s affect on generations of people. Many times people bemoan that One person can’t change the world. and that you can then retire to your blind consumption and apathy. True enough – but one person can change the world – with help from a bunch of other people.
In the coaching training I’d been doing last summer – the model was tracking personal problems and difficulties to three separate sources: frustration, isolation and overwhelm. Each source is a denial of the reality around you, the people around you and the resources around you.
I felt sort of foolish not knowing about Shirley Chisolm’s legacy until her death – I would have loved to hear her speak. But that wasn’t a part of my education – I remember hearing about some lady that ran for president (only because of the milestone in the same box with Geraldin Ferraro) in the 60s. I didn’t know all of the stuff she did after that. And a part of my ignorance is my upbringing in a nearly all-white neighborhood and school – there’s a ‘folk culture’ attached to any minority group that doesn’t always get transferred to those oustide the culture. But the clips of Shirley I saw on the news were fantastic – Unbought and unbossed. PR consultants would piss themselves if a politician dared a similar dynamic.
Similarly I didn’t know that those 2 sweet old ladies that got married in San Francisco were warriors of equal rights for nearly 60 years.
Yes, I’m sure King drove those around him crazy sometimes and I’m sure there’s thousands of stories of he wasn’t all that, but does that eclipse his daring and accomplishments. I see the legacy that Jesse Jackson pretends he carries on and it seems absurd compared to the united vision of the 1960s movement (and again, if I’m totally out of context let me know – I can only write what I know – and yes, I’m probably not including enough weight to all of the violence/turbulence it took to get to where he got).