My granddaughter, Monica, is studying Missouri history. Her lesson today included some things about slavery in America (and Missouri), and she and her sister both heard facts today about Martin Luther King, Jr., since his day is coming up soon, and they'll have the day off school.
Because it was on their minds, I told them what a great speaker the man was. I love good preaching, and MLK was a great preacher. He knew how to stir people's hearts.
Then I went to this web site, where you can download Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, and I started listening to it. Monica was doing her homework at the kitchen table, and Natalie was in my bedroom playing a game on the Playstation. But as Martin reached the crescendo of his speech, both girls were drawn to the computer like metal to a magnet, listening. Natalie was disappointed when she saw it wasn't a video.
My granddaughters really will never know how bad it was: how African-Americans had to use inferior bathroom facilities because they weren't allowed to use the same sanitary rest rooms as white people. How they couldn't sit at the counter of a restaurant with white people. How they had to enter some places through the back door. And how they had to sit at the back of the bus.
Let's thank God that things are better now. It isn't perfect, but at least we've come further than we were in 1963. And much of that is due to Martin Luther King, Jr.
And I'm thankful to my friend Joanna that, just one time, I was able to stand on those steps where Martin Luther King Jr. made that speech. It was one of the high spots of my life.