Friday, April 04, 2008

40 years

it's the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of martin luther king, jr. forty years ago tonight, i cried all night long (i was an infant at the time, but still). in the car this morning, i listened to a recording of robert kennedy telling a shocked audience in indianapolis that king had been killed that day, and it made me cry. every time i think about king's death, i think of the this american life story in which a father, after explaining the story of jesus to his four year-old daughter, finds himself answering her questions about martin luther king:

"who's that?"
"well,...that's martin luther king. and that's why you're not in school today. because we're celebrating his birthday..."
"well, who was he?"
"he was a preacher...and there was another thing that he was famous for, which was that he had a message..."
"what was his message?"
"well, he said that you should treat everyone the same, no matter what they look like."
she thought about that for a minute, then she said, "well, that's what jesus said."
and i said, "yeah, i guess it is. i never thought of it that way, but yeah."
she thought for a minute, then looked up at me and said, "did they kill him, too?"

1 comment:

Mary said...

I heard that piece & cried too - then again when i read the TAL quote. WBUR ran a story i'd never heard about the James Brown concert in Boston that night. Local black leaders convinced the mayor not to cancel it & there was no rioting in Boston - or Indianapolis, where RFK spoke.