Like a Mighty Stream

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Today is the end of week seven, so it's time to do the end of the week count:

PAGES - 1,856

PAGES - 13,188 (that number kind of surprises me because it really doesn't feel like I've read that many pages).

And the winner is . . . Like a Mighty Stream.

Thank you to everyone who voted - and for those who haven't voted yet, you can still vote on the book for the 19th (until midnight tonight) and on the book for the 20th.

Today's book was a short one, so I had hoped to get this entry up earlier in the day, but I had a ton of other things that I had to fit into my schedule in between reading. I am really looking forward to the end of this week when I will be done with the extra work I have to do, and I will finally have a chance to catch up on some things. The first thing that's on my list is catching up on reading other people's blogs. I follow about 20 different blogs, but I just haven't had time lately to read any of them or leave comments - but I am going to correct that situation this weekend.

Here's the description from the back of the book; "Like a Mighty Stream tells the stories behind the landmark August 1963 march - the precipitating events, the emergence of leaders such as A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins and John Lewis; the unheralded contributions of the women; and the personal experiences that drew so many there that day."

I'm having a bit of trouble writing tonight's blog entry because this book made me feel very emotional. There are some things that are hard to put into words - but I'm going to try and ramble my way through this entry anyway.

My favorite excerpt from the book was a memory from John Marshall Kilimanjaro, who describe what happened when the bus he was traveling to Washington on stopped at a rest stop in Virginia: "There as no one at the rest stop. We walked around a bit to stretch and saw this big mound of earth - it seemed as if there was some construction or building going on. Several of us decided to climb to the top of the mound, the sun was slowly rising, and as we looked out, all we saw were buses, coming from the north, east, west, and south. And we knew it was our people. We burst into applause." - Kilimanjaro goes on to explain that their biggest fear had been that the March would be a bust, and that after seeing all the buses coming they set out with new attitude. I'm a completely sappy person, the kind who cries during commercials (in my defense Heinz used to air a really good ketchup commercial about World War 2, and Hallmark had a great one about adoption) - and so it's no surprise that this particular passage got me all choked up. Something about the image of them standing on that mound watching the buses come in made me cry. If you're not as sappy as I am you might be able to get through the whole book without getting choked up, but I think you will still find it very moving - and if you don't, then all I have to say to you is: grow a heart Tin Man (just kidding).

This book was piqued my interest to the point where I was making a list, while reading, of all the people discussed that I want to know more about - I thinkthat's always a good sign, when a book is interesting enough that it becomes a jumping off point for learning more about a particular subject. I've made a list of biographies that I want to check out, and I'm going to try to read some of them throughout the rest of this year (since I think it's totally unfair that there is only one month of the year set aside for learning about black history).

And now I'd like to do a special salute to sandwiches and the people who made them (stay with me here dear readers, I'm going somewhere with this one) - The morning before the March, more than 300 volunteers gathered at the Riverside Church in New York City, to assemble more than 80,000 cheese sandwiches which were packed into a lurch along with cake and an apple (the cake and apple part is totally irrelevant to the story, but I just felt like throwing that in anyway). The lunches where then transported to Washington on a refrigerated truck. That story may seem trivial, and pointless, but I was struck by how those who weren't able to help out on the front lines of the March were still able to contribute in their own way - a way that may not seem as important as some of the other roles played that day, but a way that was instrumental in those who marched being able to get through the day. So that's my deep moment for the day - that even if you can't do dramatic newsworthy things every day to change the world, there are still small things you can do to contribute. Okay, sorry for the mini-lecture, I do hate to get preachy dear readers.

After I finished reading the book I went to youtube and found a video of a newscast about the March that aired in 1963. Here's the link:
As soon as I'm finished with my busy, work-related schedule I'm going to figure out how to embed videos on the blog, but for now the link is going to have to suffice.

I promise dear readers, that after two days of serious books and entries that the next few days are going to be fun and lighthearted - I don't want things to get too heavy around here. So join me tomorrow for some shallow thoughts on whatever book wins the "What Will Angie Read Today" contest.