Monday, January 18, 2016

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time of giving others your attention, your creativity, your knowledge, your aide. And that's what I set out to offer today.
My cell phone turned alarm clock rang at 6AM. I hurried along, packing two Chao slice sandwiches and a Daiya Blueberry Yogurt for breakfast and headed off to Germantown Friends School to participate in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. As soon as I came in, I checked off my name from the Create Books-on-CD list, filled out a name tag, and picked up a nice complimentary medium sized 60th Anniversary Montgomery Bus Boycott t-shirt. Rosa Parks is the cover girl, but we history buffs know all about Claudette Colvin, Bayard Rustin, Irene Morgan, and others.

Today we salute the strong, nonviolent orator with humanist flaws, Martin Luther King Jr. Yet we cannot forget the great woman standing beside him. Coretta Scott King, a force of venerable strength and graceful dignity who should have a commemorative day as well, happened to well-educated, compassionate, supportive of the arts, and later on-- vegan.
Before each attendee were summoned to prospective activities-- community trash pick up, card and jewelry making, baking pies and hot pockets, preparing Syrian refugee supplies, singing civil rights songs among incredible opportunities-- we were treated to hearing a once-in-a-lifetime guest speaker, Phillip Hunter.
Hunter is a Selma, Alabama native. He was a seventeen-year-old foot soldier in all three Selma marches including the horrific "Bloody Sunday" before and after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived. In a rather candid speech, he instructed us all to go forth from this day of service, to move through strife that can be as terribly frightening as the Edmund Pettus Bridge, to push others along, to find the greatest potential in ourselves and share those findings with the world around.
The most seemingly impossible thing can possibly gift the most profound fruit ever given.

Back in 1965, Phillip Hunter was a seventeen-year-old foot soldier-- a former paperboy and shoe shine boy-- inspired by his blacklisted news editor father, Phillip desired to take a stand for civil rights, campaigning alongside many organizations such as Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and other groups. Listen to some of his speech here. I apologize in advance for the sounds of talking children and random people who kept getting up in my camera view. 
Once denied and deemed an unlawful certificate, Phillip received a Freedom Diploma signed by Martin Luther King Jr., proudly displaying it to us. After his speech, I am honored to have thanked him and shook a brave man's hand.
Phillip was honored along with other original foot soldiers with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor to be bestowed upon a civilian. If one looks closely, the late Amelia Boynton Robinson is on the far left.
Sitting on the steps of Germantown Friends School's Free Library with a treasure of a book by a phenomenal poet and one of the greatest post abstract-expressionist painters that ever lived. Also FYI: a day of service shouldn't always be performed on the third day of January. Everyday is a new day to inspire, to enrich, to encourage any person to do something they never thought they could do.


  1. great post! Thank you for sharing your experiences today with us. My goodness, what an honor and opportunity to hear Mr. Hunter speak in person. I'm so happy for you! Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day to you too!

    1. Thank you Amey! I am so happy to share this with everyone. It was such a great experience-- I had no idea who the guest speaker would be and was extremely floored. Happy MLK Day, my dear. <3