Thursday, January 15, 2009

Robert Kennedy on the Death of Dr. King

As we prepare to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, my mind turns back to the awful April evening almost 41 years ago now when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Like most people alive and beyond childhood at the time, I can remember exactly where I was when the news arrived.

Just as word of the nation's terrible loss began to spread across the country, Senator Robert F. Kennedy rose to inform a crowd in Indianapolis of the tragedy. His words are worth watching here.

May the work of Dr. King continue. May his memory, his message and his values shape our lives and inform our actions.



Anonymous said...

As a conservative on most matters, I have gotten more inspiration from the words of Dr. King that than just about anyone. I wish he were alive today to witness the history that he made possible.


jch said...

Hey Larry,

My five year old daughter came home yesterday after school with this nugget: "Hey Dad, did you know that black people and white people didn't used to like each other?"

She's in a public school here in Brooklyn and in her class, there are at least six or seven languages spoken by the different kids and their families in the class. It's a very socially conscious school in which parents are intimately involved in seeking justice. It makes total sense that a mother came to Sophia's class and talked about MLK, Jr. and the history surrounding his life and our country.

So I'm asking you: What are some talking points that I should make sure to cover with my five year old daughter on this issue?

Gerald Britt said...


I know you asked Larry, but I hope you don't mind if I try and answer.

You can make sure that she knows of the many different people who worked with Dr. King. The others, black and white, who protested and even died to make sure that a grave generational injustice was corrected. Teach her with that, that she too, can stand up for and stand by people who are treated unfairly.

Help her to understand that this is a matter of brotherhood, citizenhsip and the founding principles of our country and that all of us have a responsibility to make sure that we live up to them.

Sounds like your daughter is on her way to a great start in her education. She is very fortunate to be in a class like that.

Larry James said...

jch, thanks for sharing this sweet story. Gerald has it exactly right, as is always the case with him! Your daughter has created and drawn you into one of those "teachable moments"--of course, as is usually the case with children, she may be our best teacher! I think I would use this experience to introduce her to the fact that not everyone looks at the world and its beauty the way you do in your home. Letting her know that your understanding of the power, the necessity and the gift of diversity is a value not shared by everyone. To be more positive, you could talk about how God has made the world full of all sorts of folks, cultures, races, societies and that all have their stories. And that these stories are important, worth hearing and worthy of respect and admiration. That the way God has made the world, we all really do need each other, that we need to understand and appreciate each other, that celebration can be organized around both differences and commonalities and that celebration together is what it is all about, just like at her school. Be open to her leading, she will take you to new places, I'd bet. I am proud for you.