Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Goodbye Mrs. King

I first saw Coretta Scott King on a bright and sunny Atlanta day in May of 1997. She was at a ceremony for the internment of the remains of Howard Thurman's wife to the same crypt where his remains are housed on the campus of my dear alma mater, Morehouse College.

Of course I had seen her countless times on television and in the pages of magazines and books, but there she was, in the flesh and standing ten feet away from me. When speaking of her, we need to invent a new word that stands for regal, poise, beauty, charm, character, grace, intellect and presence. Because she embodied all of those words and so many more. Anyway, here she was standing on the plaza of King Chapel waiting to take her seat, when she looked over at me, smiled and said hello. I was stunned, naturally, and uttered a hello back to her. I was speechless though. I couldn't muster anything else.

I saw her up close and personal a few more times over the years, at Morehouse commencements and Founders Days. I remember one year when my father and I went to the annual 'A Candle in the Dark' and she was waiting for her car in line before us. My Dad was speechless as well to be there in her presence, even in a motor lobby under the Hyatt hotel.

She was so much to so many people, and of all the fitting tributes and well deserved platitudes, I simply want to say that were it not for her strength, vision, tenacity, character, resourcefulness and zeal, so many advantages that people of my generation and the generations after take for granted, would not have been attainable.

So, with that, I say thank you Mrs. King, for everything.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.


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