Monday, January 17, 2011

Remembering MLK - Lessons From GOOGLE, to My Own Hometown

Image on today's Google Search Page

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

I am on the computer all the time working on websites, podcasts, blogs and other writing projects and research projects. I use the Google search engine all the time for a quick search.  While looking up something a few moments ago, I went to use the Google search engine and looked at the image of the day, and pondered upon its theme. Children, innocently playing a game I too, used to play---hopskotch.

I saw the image, and wondered for a moment what it meant---and then I got it.  The image above should be exactly what it is---children of all colors being able to play an innocent game---color not being of importance, only their innocence as children, should allow them to play a simple game together.

I grew up in a small southern town of Ft. Smith, Arkansas. This is a town rich in history of the past, where the western frontier was right at the city's gates, and the flavor of the south lined the beautiful city streets.  The town I grew up in was not without its challenges for its citizens of color, but I have come to appreciate how times have changed.

Schools were segregated. There were the 2 white high schools and the1 black high school. Therye were the white Catholic schools and the 1 black Catholic School. McCrory's and Kress soda fountains were not open to people of color and it was known.  Yet unlike places in cities like Baltimore, we could use dressing rooms in local stores and some areas of exchange and interaction were never an issue.

During the earlier 19th century years of westward expansion, black US Deputies were commonplace, many rode for the infamous Judge Parker.

In the days of my youth there were also black policemen, among law enforcement officials.  When integration came, it was quiet and also without incident.  Although many elders in the African American community can recall when in the 1960s, when the city's only black doctor tried to get on the school board, emergency phone calls were made across the city to dozens of white citizens to get to the school board right away----votes were needed right away to keep the black doctor from being elected.  They were successful. Yet today the board of education has had members who are of color, for many years.

But unlike Little Rock that got the headlines as Central High School was integrated, Ft. Smith held its breath.  And quietly things were dismantled. The girls academy, St. Scholastica had already opened its doors to black students, as early as 1952 and no noise was ever made. There were others in the city who had been childhood friends across the color line, who also had broken barriers of color without incident.

And as integration came to the city----doors opened rather smoothly.  Restaurants opened, and the schools were integrated, and jobs opened.

Today, the school board has African Americans as part of the team, medical professionals come in a variety of colors, and children sit together, of all colors innocently as they should---and color is not an issue for them--their innocence as children dominates their day.

I looked at an image of children on the page of the school board's website,  and saw the city represented.  Faces, black, white brown, reflecting the city's image---children who were Vietnamese, Laotian, Hispanic, African American and Caucasian---all are there, and all sat listening to a story being read.
Image from page of Ft. Smith School District

The city council has a person of color among the leaders, tv news reporters come in a variety of colors and backgrounds, and life goes on as it should.

During this time, in our nation, where succession balls are held, the nation celebrates or commemorates it's own Civil War of not too long ago, some wounds are still tender, and some have never healed.  Perhaps some day we will get it sorted out.

Perhaps they should take some lessons from my hometown, where life goes on, as it should.

"I have a dream that little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."   ~Martin Luther King Jr.~

1 comment:

@recordswiki said...


Thank you so much for sharing the stories and history of your hometown. This is a subject that has always been a close one for me, having grown up in the south as well. I saw the Google picture this morning and wondered what it meant. As it dawned on me that Google puts up pictures in conjunction with holidays, I felt a feeling of joy rise up in me that things have improved since his time and that those words which he spoke all those many years ago have slowly been coming to pass. I grew up with friends of all colors whereas my mother remembers being scolded by an adult for playing with a Puerto Rican girl her age. So glad I grew up in an age where that wasn't looked down on. So thankful for Dr. King's life of service. And thankful for your post! =)