Friday, January 18, 2013

he fought with words (post 18)

He Fought With Words
by Meredith Jessup (Grade 6)

Martin Luther King,
Strong and bold,
Had quite a story 
to be told
Of truth finally brought to light
And freedom fought until it was right.
He fought with words not his hands.

He fought for the rights white people had.
He fought for his color,
All blacks in the land.
Peace was his motto,
Love for his clan.
Marching on together,
In one large band.
He fought with words not his hands.

When he went to jail that day,
He went without protest,
that unhappy way,
While people stood along the way,
And urged on King to keep peace and pray.
He fought with words not his hands.

Tall and proud on that day was he,
As he stood on the gleaming balcony.
And talked to his followers that sad day
When King was assassinated by James Earl Ray.
Toppling over dead was he,
And he fell to the ground in misery.

As mourners gathered along the way,
There were no shouts of freedom that day,
They watched their beloved leader lay,
In a gleaming casket and they prayed.

Here lay the man who had led the way,
Of fighting peacefully with what you say.
Singing Overcome and Blessed are They,
Those of you who stoop to pray.
He used not his hands but his words to say,
"Blacks will be free one day!"

My word for the year is "reflect". 

In light of the MLK holiday on Monday, I was thinking about this poem I wrote in the sixth grade. I think I was ten. We had been reading about Martin Luther King Jr. and watching videos about him. Those opportunities to learn about him prompted an interest in not only MLK but also non-violence, Ghandi, and justice. 

My parents had lots of bookshelves in our downstairs and I found a book by MLK and read it. Another by Ghandi and read parts of that. Sometime in the seventh grade I found The Autobiography of Malcom X...obviously a different take but I read it. I'm not sure that my seventh grade brain fully understood everything that he was saying but I do remember specific ideas and phrases. 

There are lots of things that my 36 year old self wonders about my 10 year old self. Questions I would ask myself about how I understood race, justice, value, and freedom. I appreciate that my parents had good books to read and that they let me read them. I'm thankful that some of these early readings and videos peaked an interest in justice and the oppressed and how I have a part to play. Who will I stand with?

I'm still asking some of those questions. 

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