This afternoon we visited Martin Luther King’s birthplace, and the house where he spent his first twelve years of his life. We saw the piano that his mother wanted him to learn how to play, and where told the story of how he purposefully broke the piano bench so that he wouldn’t have to sit through a lesson. We went into the kitchen, and saw Wheaties on the 1930s style table, and we learned that it was his favorite cereal. We learned that he would often hide with a comic book in the bathroom to avoid having to wash the dishes. All of these humorous anecdotes helped us to see Dr King as he truly was — a great man, instead of a larger-than-life figurehead. Idolizing people can also sometimes dehumanize them, and Dr. King wanted only for human beings to be viewed and treated as human beings.
On the tour, we were grouped (by chance) with an interracial family from New Bedford MA, as well as a large Black family from Denver. Our tour guide, a Black park ranger was informing and educating a young Black child on the details of Martin Luther Kings home, as well as giving him insight on his people’s history.
While as a county and society we are nowhere near achieving complete racial equality, the fact that such a diverse group of people looked to a Black man as a leader in Dr. Kings childhood home was moving and powerful for many of us to witness.