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Friday, 29 May 2009

I, Too, Have a Dream

The late Martin Luther King Jr. was somewhat a hero of mine growing up, although I was never so thoroughly indoctrinated into his cult so as to confuse him with the original Martin Luther, whose name he shared for all of his public life (although it appears that he never legally changed his name from Michael L. King, and was known in his early ministry as "M. L. King").

I was so enthralled with his "I Have a Dream" speech that I memorized it for delivery at the annual MLK Holiday one year. Alas, being judged by the color of my skin, I was encouraged to find some other way of celebrating the holiday. Well, I didn't let that get me down, but as time went on I did find out more and more about MLK that dimmed my appreciation for him. But I still like the speech.

In the speech, Martin made reference to his sons and daughters:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Martin and Coretta's four children did grow up, and outlived them both. But one thing they did not do was provide the Kings with any grandchildren. Incredibly, when Coretta died in 2006 at the age of seventy-eight, none of her four children had produced any legal issue. In fact, none of them were even married. Her oldest son, MLK III, had yet to legitimize his relationship with his girlfriend, who later bore their child. Her oldest daughter Yolanda died the following year, and the remaining three are embroiled in a legal dispute over the administration of their father's legacy.

Martin got his wish---but not the way he wanted, I'm sure. His "four little children" are being judged by the content of their character--in fact, they're even calling each other's character into question as I write.

Well, I have a dream. It's perhaps not as grandiose as Martin Luther King's, but I'd say its chances of being fulfilled are at least as good. None of my children are yet married, so I have no grandchildren. But I dream of spending the last half of my life welcoming dozens of grandchildren into the world, one after another. I even dream of seeing my oldest grandchildren get married and have children of their own. I dream of setting up a society in memory of my father, membership in which being limited to his agnate descendants--and there being no inactive members.

I'm not out to leave a media legacy for my children to squabble over--or even to get my name on the history sites. I'm out to leave a legacy of descendants who can be glad to be judged by the content of their character--whether or not they are still being judged by the color of their skin--or the lack thereof.

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