Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for so many things. We would all do well to remember that the intersections of race and class and education and gender are tightly bound. You cannot ‘win’ one battle without remembering there are more battles to fight.
My iTunes player happened upon this song and I instantly was transported to seeing Selma in the theaters and seeing this award-winning song’s heartbreakingly powerful performance at the Academy Awards. Glory, indeed.
If you want to be energized, watch this performance of Sojourner Truth’s famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech from 1851, by Alfre Woodard. I take great pride in the fact that I teach at a school founded in the same year, founded to provide women an education because The University of Missouri didn’t allow them to study there. Indeed to teach at a place created for all the ‘Ain’t I a Women’ is something very, very good.
One of my favorite songs is “Which Side Are You On” by Florence Reece. I think that much of our lives is about deciding and acting upon those ‘sides’ we find ourselves. This past week, I traveled historic Route 80 in Alabama, the site of the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965. At the Lowndes County Interpretive Center, you will see the shoes and hat that Lucille Times wore the entire 54 miles. I imagine that she wore her best clothes, in honor of this most important cause– securing equal rights for all blacks in America. I look at these shoes and imagine how uncomfortable they must have been. I look at the cracks in the bed of the shoes and imagine her soldiering on because it was simply impossible for her to do anything else. I know, firmly, which side she was on and I hope I would’ve been right there with her, had I been alive at the time.