Reflect on Martin’s Dream

Martin Luther King Day should be a day when we pause to reflect on how far we have come. After I passed the age of 50, I began to realize that I am a walking history book. My daughter cannot imagine a world where segregation was legal. She cannot imagine a group of friends all one color. She cannot imagine packing chicken in a car for a long trip. She cannot imagine a world with boundaries. Each day I thank Martin for that.

I think it is important to remember, reflect and re-focus. Born in 1954, the first six grades of my education were spent in segregated schools. I sat in the balcony at the movies. I drank from colored water fountains. I thought all white people were smart. I lived in colored town. When I reflect, I realize how much positive change I have seen. Thank God for Martin!

Last year I took a step toward preserving a small part of that history by creating the Clara Ford Foundation. The Clara Ford Foundation celebrates quilts that were made in colored town. It celebrates making something beautiful from scraps. It celebrates finding joy in the midst of despair. It celebrates knowing that you and your craft are worthy.

Recently, I took a step toward spreading that history to future generations. I spoke to my daughter’s civics class. She happens to be the only African American in that class. I spoke to 14-year-olds about how it used to be. I challenged them to do their part to make the world better. Later in the week, I went with my daughter’s basketball team to see the recently released movie Glory Road. Glory Road celebrates the determination and spirit of the first basketball team to start five black players in the NCAA tournament. What seems so common now made the earth move in 1965. I hope my daughter and all children understand that they stand on the backs of others who came before. I hope they realize the importance of standing up for good — even if you are the only one standing.

These are my reflections. Take a moment for yours. Happy Martin Luther King Day!

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