Monday, January 19, 2009


When my daughter attended elementary school, I volunteered in her library. At the time, I was also working on my first book, My Louisiana Sky. The librarian was kind enough to let me read my manuscript to the fourth graders.

There is a scene in the book when Magnolia, a black housekeeper, accompanies Tiger on the bus. Since this was 1957, a year after the bus boycott ended, I remember struggling with where Magnolia would choose to sit. Because of her character, I eventually decided she would sit in the back. She was the kind of person who wasn't going to cause any trouble. And I suspected the process took a while to become a reality even though at that point blacks were legally allowed at that point to sit where they wished.

When I read that part to the students, they were confused. Why would she have to sit at the back of the bus. Even after I explained how life was back then for blacks, they couldn't grasp that life could have been that way. It pleased me to know we had changed to the point that these children couldn't comprehend this injustice was ever allowed.

No one can deny, this change had a lot to do with Martin Luther King, Jr and the people who followed his dream. Below is a bit from his last speech. It is so prophetic when you listen, knowing that he was assassinated the next day.

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