Growing Up King

Monday, January 19, 2009

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day I decided to read a book that was written by his son, about what it was like to grow up in the King family.

Here's the description from the back of the book:

"He was just seven years old and watching television in the family's den when a special news bulletin announced that his father had fallen to an assassin's bullet - a tragedy that would forever scar his adolescence. But as an adult, Dexter Scott King was determined to confront the past, discover the truth about his father's murder, and protect his father's legacy..."

Overall I thought the book was decent, but it sort of lacked focus. It kind of jumped all around and left me with literary whiplash. The redeeming part of the book was when King discusses what it was like to find out about his father's death. I couldn't make it through that part without crying. The book was pretty bleak overall, but I trudged through it.

After I was done reading I needed a pick-me-up, so I spent a few minutes engaging in some light-hearted mocking (I mocked with love, of course) of my sister for her desperate MLK-related phone calls that she makes to me about once a week. They go a little something like this:

Alissa: I'm doing nothing with my life.

Me: You have a law degree and two other degrees. Doesn't that count for something.

A: It's not enough. Martin Luther King was only 26 when he organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I'm 26 now. My life is meaningless.

M: Okay, so one person did more at your age. That doesn't mean your life is meaningless.

A: Jesus was only 33 when he died.

Then I spend a few minutes trying to console her (and trying to figure out how the Jesus trivia got randomly thrown in there) - which has absolutely no effect whatsoever, and then we move on and start talking about shallow things.

And to close out today's blog entry, here's a link to a video of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech:

Interesting fact about the speech that I learned from this book: The "I Have a Dream" part was not in the original speech. According to his son, "He had prepared his remarks but, moved by the passion of the crowd before him and the tremendous significance of that day in August 1963, his mind soared and led him to those immortal words."