Martin Luther King Day became one of my favorite holidays a few years ago during a Best Day session when my buds around the table - many of whom happened to be African American at that particular session - spontaneously opened up about their experiences of watching him speak in person and on live TV. The past and the present connected for me within that simple hour. History felt for the first time relevant. Hope and dreams for the country felt possible. MLK the icon became suddenly very real, his message of love and unity became timeless. And every time this holiday comes around, I am reminded that this country is worth dreaming for.
It all started several years ago when I received a phone call from my mother inviting me to come to hear a speaker in Atlantic City.
Having just moved into another home a few months earlier and bearing the responsibilities of a wife and working mom, I refused. She, on the other hand, insisted that I would miss listening to him tell America a few things. She said “He has something on the ball”.
Out of respect for her, I reluctantly got my pregnant self together, grabbed my seven year old son and boarded a train to meet her. After his speech, we went and shook his hand, at the Atlantic City High School, in 1958.
Little did Mom know that a national holiday would be celebrated in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.