January 19, 2009
Happy Martin Luther King Day!
Posted by Christine Hurt

This year, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day seems to have been absorbed into the Inauguration Day anticipation.  I think that's fine and probably fitting.  Although we can't be sure, we can speculate that the election of an African-American man to the office of President of the United States, arguably the most powerful position in the world, must have been one possibility Dr. King was considering in the "I Have a Dream" speech.  Though I think we all wish the Dr. King could be in Washington, D.C. tomorrow, not thinking of him tomorrow will be impossible.

I take MLK Day very seriously, and we actually have an MLK party each year, complete with a birthday cake.  I'v even blogged about it before.  Today, I only have one tidbit to add. 

This election day, my 92 year-old white grandma went to the polls and voted for Barack Obama, who she knew to be an African-American man.  My grandma spent the first half of her life in towns in East Texas that don't show up on most maps.  I don't think she went to school past junior high.  I don't think she's ever had a black person in her house, or shook a black hand, or sat next to a black person on purpose.  My grandma is the most wonderful person I know, but she lived most of her life around people who said (and still say) things that would make your hair stand on end.  But something happened, and she voted for Barack Obama.  Now, maybe she voted for him because he was the only Democrat left standing or because of some other reason, but it doesn't matter.  I'm from a place where every courthouse has a water fountain and a metal plate on the wall next to the water fountain, where the "colored" water fountain used to be.  Public buildings have two women's restrooms on every floor and one men's because the building at one time needed three separate restrooms.  In four decades, less time than for all of these remnants to be replaced, Barack Obama has been elected President -- because people like my grandma voted for him.

Have a great MLK Day.

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