Guestbook Archive: 1999
Like Ted Kennedy's comments at the funeral of this brother, King believed that "Some people see things as they are and they ask why-I dream of things as they never were and ask why not."
Jim, Highlands, New Jersey
I learned about Dr. Martin Luther King when I was in sixth grade in Seattle. Through his life and example and later under the tutelage of an outstanding teacher (Rick Nagel at Franklin High School), I got hooked on the idea of pursuing civil rights/social justice work. After college, my dream came true when I worked in Alabama to help make sure that the 1965 Voting Rights Act was being implemented (sad to say, but it was not). Through the mid-1980s, I traveled throughout the state gathering oral histories of African Americans who had courageously run for office despite threats and recriminations. I saw communities with racially separate churches, schools (most of the white families had pulled their kids out of the local public schools and created private Christian academies), and even separate Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops. I had no idea.
I hope that people will begin to make Dr. King's (and the thousands upon tens of thousands of others who made the Civil Rights Movement happen) legacy and teachings a part of their life EVERY day of the year. Now it seems like what we do is brush the words and images of Dr. King off every year and bring them out like the fancy china we use at Thanksgiving but pay little attention to it the rest of the year. There is still much to be pursued justice for the poor, true racial equity, as well as a hard and critical examination of how racism is absolutely embedded into our society and the remedies (yes, affirmative action, but more) that may be painful but necessary if we are ready to achieve the potential of our rich multi-cultural heritage.
Thank you for taking the time and effort to build this web site for the general public. It shows that the Seattle Times does care about everyones needs in the community.
Dr. King has inspired me since I first heard his speech when I was a small child growing up in Seattle. To this day, certain parts of that speech bring tears to my eyes and I can't help but wonder what it would have been like if he had lived and carried on his work.
His speech also gives me hope when I see angry people of all colors still thinking and acting out racist views as if nothing has happened in the last thirty years. It's as if they had never heard of the man or his dream. Perhaps the holiday best serves us as a reminder that we're all human, of the same species, and that we're all equal.
Until everyone can agree on this simple point we dishonor this man and his dream and don't deserve to live in this country. Lets walk and talk hand in hand and stop denying ourselves and future generations the chance to get to know one another. Keep his dream alive into the next century.
Brian Sacchini, Highline Community College, Des Moines, Washington
I have wonderful memories of Dr. King and his wife, Corretta. While he was in India I had the privilege of caring for his mail and other business matters. At the time I was a secretary for the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) and the International Desk was in charge of his trip overseas which was paid for by the AFSC. Upon Dr. King's return, I was in charge of arranging a luncheon for his report to the Board of Directors. It was fantastic and Mrs. King sang. I shall never forget when the luncheon as over they thanked me very much for assistance to them and they both gave me a hug and signed the luncheon program.
Before the luncheon meeting I sat down with them to discuss some reports, correspondence and the happening while he was in India. As you know he so admired Gandhi and he wanted to walk where Gandhi walked. The AFSC sponsored the trip. He also took this time to recuperate from the stabbing which left him quite ill. What an opportunity for me. When I share this experience with my students, their mouths drop open and they are quite interested in my story and always want to hear more.
Jeanette E. Page, Barratt Middle School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I was working at a radio station (WROV) in Roakoke Virginia when the news that Martin Luther King had been shot came across the wire. Somewhat stunned, I nervously broke into the regular programming and read the announcement on the air. A few hours later, a local television newsman stopped by the station and greeted me with "Hi Fred, What's goin' on?" "What's goin' on", I replied. "Haven't you heard? King's been shot?" "Oh that", he said indifferently, "Oh yeah, I heard that, I mean what's goin' on?"
Being from North, the exchange with the other newsman was kind of an awakening for me that not all people in this country were shocked by the killing of Dr. King. Some probably would have provided safe harbor for the killer. I never forgot the conversation of that day.
Fred Klein, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
He is a great man! All I wanna say is his speech "I have a dream" inspired me for five years. Give me power to face trouble. And I do believe you can do anything if you have a dream and try your best to pursue your dream. Yes, it's like the song... "I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky"...
Eric Lee, Shanghai, P.R. China.
I teach a multi-age 4th/5th grade class in Bellingham, WA. Last year we began a new tradition in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My students selected Ruby Bridges as the first recipient of our "Room 12 Living His Dream" award.
The students researched and came up with qualities exemplified in the life of Dr. King. We then looked for someone who personified those qualities in his/her life. Ruby was selected because many students had read a book about her and seen a television movie about her.
This year, the class is compiling seventy ways to think about Dr. King using adjectives and phrases. Examples include: hopeful, influential, non-violent, respectful, trustworthy. We chose seventy, because 1999 would have been the year Dr. King would have celebrated his 70th birthday. This makes a great classroom bulletin board.
In continuing our "Room 12 Living His Dream Award" tradition, the students are nominating people from our community who are carrying on Dr. King's work here in the Bellingham area. One of the nominees is a woman who has volunteered to train elementary students to be playground conflict mediators. The students feel she helps carry out Dr. King's vision of a world where problems and conflicts can be solved peacefully and non-violently.
I would love to hear what others are doing to expand the idea of celebrating the life of Dr. King.
Bill Palmer, Columbia Elementary, Bellingham, Washington
If you ask me, Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the best people who ever lived on this earth. I wish that everyone would see things his way and that we could all put an end to racial segregation.
I have recently started a club for TEENAGERS AGAINST RACISM. Let's put and end to racism once and for all. We can do it if we put our mind to it.
I am an ESL teacher in Ault, CO. I was teaching a student who is from Honduras about MLK and segregation. He didn't believe me that this really happened in the United States. I was touched to see that we really have made some progress in 35 years that this young man could not believe how badly blacks were treated in the U.S.
Joan Reed, Highland Middle School, Ault, Colorado