Tuesday, January 31, 2006

RIP, Mrs. King

Mrs. Coretta Scott King has passed away. One more link to the Civil Rights struggle and the turbulent 1960's is gone.

When I was in a senior in high school, in 1970, my English teacher said she felt sorry for us. She had been a student at Reed College in Oregon and had participated in the voter registration drives in the Deep South. "We felt that we really could make a difference," she told us. "We felt that we were doing something Important."

As it has turned out, the Civil Rights Act was the easy part of integration. Changing people's hearts was much more difficult. There was forced busing and riots. "White flight" from the cities to the suburbs. From No Admission to "Affirmative Action," which has gone on a lot longer than I expected. There were riots and entire neighborhoods destroyed.

Mrs. King watched her husband lead his people in protest, buried him, heard him praised, heard his failings, personal and public, exposed. Although I haven't always agreed with her politics, I always admired her dignity and strength.

Rest in Peace, Mrs. King. You have waited a long time to be reunited with your husband, as I hope you are.