Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
Martin Luther King Jr.
While in Atlanta it was important to me that Blake be able to see the Martin Luther King Historic Site. We were excited to be there and let him learn and explore. Within minutes Paul and I picked up on the sneers and jeers of us being there. We ignore and continue with our journey.
We learned a lot. We went into the King Center where Coretta and Martin are buried. They have a MLK Room, Gandhi and Rosa Parks room. I have always been fascinated by them all. I took the opportunity to soak up all the information I could. Blake was asking questions. He was so taken by all that he was experiencing. He truly enjoyed his time here. I was so proud to share that with him. You could see him taking in every picture, every hand written note. It was amazing.
The reflecting pool At the far end holds the final resting places of Dr. Martin Luther King JR. and his wife Coretta.
It truly was a peaceful place asides the comments we kept getting. We marched on and thankfully Blake didn’t hear what was being said. We made our way to station 6. It served the Sweet Auburn area and is now the meeting place for his birth home tour. Beautiful building. I forgot to take a picture of the outside. We were busy helping a local convalescent home raise money. What a great group of people.
We waited there for the park ranger to come and take us to the birth home. We sat and talked with a couple of people from Jersey. They were the nicest people. Really wanted to know why we were there. What had decided to visit Dr. King’s center. Blake piped up with he was a hero of his. Yes he knows what that means. We explained his autism and how I had read MLK’s I have been to the mountaintop. How it moved us. I can still remember sitting in class and hearing the I have a dream speech and getting chills. We had the best conversation with this family. Respectful.
The respect stopped by another when we got to the birth home and they found out you needed tickets to get in. Well I had stood around for two and half hours waiting for my tour. Following the rules. We had talked with this family for an hour. Another little girl came up and wanted to see the house. A lady gave up her ticket. She was a single viewer and said she would come back on Sunday. This lady kept asking if we had another ticket. I kindly replied no. Many times. As we were going in, asked again, again we said no. She told us she was leaving to go back to NYC and said she really wanted to go. I said we were leaving to go back to SC and would be taking our son in to hear about his hero. She replied with the following ” I as a black person have more right to be here than some white fat ass bitch”. Blake asked what color had to do with anything. Nice family from fire house happened to be African American. Turned without a missing a beat simply said that she had no class and that we had followed procedure and they were happy to share this house with us. They were ashamed of her actions considering what his house stood for. At that moment I was saddened that in this day the racial lines still exist in some places. Sad that Blake and the other kids were exposed to it. Thankful to this other family for sticking up for us.
On the tour we learned that MLK’s family lived with his maternal grandparents. We also learned that he was required to learn a bible passage and recite it. The verse and Jesus wept was not considered a verse. The kids were taken that he had to read the paper and form an opinon on what he has read. They were less in impressed that they had to wear their sunday best to the table every night. MLK comes from a long line of Preachers and Teachers. His sister the only sibling still alive helps the National Park Service keep the house as it was according to her memories. The King family still owns the house.
I am even more happy that we took our kids on this journey. Our eyes were opened wider and we were able to experience something beautiful.
If you have the opportunity to visit please do. Remember to pack your thick skin. You may just need it. For the most part we only ran into a few select groups that didn’t think we needed to Be there. We really enjoyed the rose garden and stopped on our way back to the car. It is a moving experience. Blake was in awe the whole time he was there. I am going to be looking at amazon to see what books I can find for him to read.