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08 February 2006

Coretta Scott King 1927-2006

Is it just me, or are all the last remaining brothers and sisters that fought the struggle first-hand leaving us?

I have been a ball of tears for the past week. I live in Atlanta, and I had the opportunity to meet Mrs King in 1998 on the campus of Georgia State University when she gave a speech during Black History Month. I was there as a student, and I along with some others had a chance to have a Q&A session with her. I told her that there seems to be a consensus in the young black community that the struggle is over, and that we have finally overcome. She replied, "Honey, the stuggle has just begun. Of course you can go to any chool you want, sit anywhere on the bus, and drink from any fountain... But the real struggle is this: Can you own the fountain, the bus company or the school yet?"

My parents were born in the late 1940's and were in their teens and 20s when the firehoses were turned on them, when L.A., chicago and Detroit were on fire from riots. So I have lived the struggle through them... I guess I was lucky in that, and a lot of my generation and younger may not have the experiences to understand what I feel when I drive down MLK blvd here. Sometimes I feel like we as blacks may have lost our way.

I went to the Georgia Capitol to see Mrs King last Saturday. I took my mom and aunt. I took our friends from Kenya and their kids. I had never seen so many of my people waiting in a line for something that wasn't free, all patient. No one complained about the teens that cut in line-- "they need to see her and feel this too... maybe more than us," replied some 60ish looking man ahead of me in the line. Once in the Capitol Rotunda I wept openly... So did my mother. Mom sat for a long time looking at the woman that she said was so strong. "Remember behind every great man is a greater woman. " Mrs King could have sat moping around and greiving for the rest of her life, and she had every right to. But instead, she picked up the torch and made sure it didn't burn out.

So I guess to sum up everything, I just want to say Thank You Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Thanks to all of the people around the world that fought for equality and human rights.
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