It was clearly the ‘knowledge’ of such a strong counter piece, wife, and friend, that Coretta Scott King was to Martin Luther King, that completely evacuated all of my remaining inner fear, shy approaches to sharing my emotions, and my adapted flexible and fragile spine. For I had been a kid, verbally raped, and stripped consciously of what I was truly meant to be, until my fifth grade teacher gave me the assignment of ‘being’ Coretta Scott King –voicing her legacy into a crowd of judgmental fifth graders as if her history were my own. Verbal abuse I encountered in my own household never won due to the inspiration of the Kings. You see the legacy that Martin Luther King left behind was only about 20 years old during the time I learned of his powerful demonstrations of peace, activism, and advocacy for ‘my people’.
I hadn’t even hit the meat of a teenage life, before realizing how necessary Martin Luther King’s legacy and practices to bring rights to African American’s was. Martin Luther King Jr. was ‘active’ in the community. He didn’t sit in a pulpit, pointing to the blocks where trouble was, he walked in them, among the young and old, black and white, educated and uneducated. MLK didn’t sit on a social network and type communities issues – he was hands, consistently working to reverse the corruption inside of them. Martin Luther King’s effortful attempts to bring to the forefront, the disproportionate treatment provided to African Americans at that time, should not vanish away due to neglectful thought – or remembrance.
We, especially African Americans owe him more respect for the issues that he fought for. We owe him our attention and not our social media ignorance and memes. Even at times, I subconsciously fall short of carrying myself in a manner that MLK would have been proud of – but I stand corrected each time with a reminder of his movement. After all, he worked on OUR behalf. Today, African Americans do struggle with little ‘hands on’ leadership and mentorship. Even in many of our households, our on birth contributors won’t fill the position.
So, yes, we lack many things that are ‘necessary’ for our upbringing, but many of the chains that haven’t been broken – are fixated by our very own daily practices. We must be accountable. I write this not to point fingers, but just to awaken – even my own ‘busy’ conscience. Even as a 30 year old African American woman, I must remind myself not to fall for the self-incriminating methods of injustices to AAs. As young AAs we must stop chaining ourselves to building that will never move. Buildings of conformity, absent minded following, and the robbing of our own individualities only to imitate our neighbors. Just because the money, cars, clothes, and the fame looks good on our TV screens, we build a life of dreams around that. What a short sale we sell to ourselves huh? They shouldn’t be able to look at our outer appearance, and ‘know our type’ – in the words of the free murderer George Zimmerman.
We should breathe and display originality. In so many ways, young African American’s these days seem to sell their individuality for ‘acceptance’. The fear of being an outcast, sort of puts us all in this repetitive sequence of ‘issues’. Instead of aiming to be amongst the many occupations that fall short of our skin color – so many tend to fall onto the path of a rapper, basketball player, or even model. What about astronauts, and scientists, judges and even knowledgeable active politicians who can relate to an urbanized look and educational deficient truth –even when it’s not grammatically correct (Hi, Rachel)? No country for occupations that don’t get their own personal media stage or necessary recognition for their impactful work? This has to be the case, no? As young people, we must continue to keep our hands free of cuffs to depression – a follower mentality – and the same methods that place us in financial strain – carelessly ignoring the necessities of monetary cushion and protection.
There are too many ‘repeats’ walking around claiming originality or this famous quote – ‘I started this first’. These are all of the chains we lock – and neglect our own God-given key on. Let’s celebrate MLK’s legacy, but let’s check our own front and back doors, for any locks that we never knew existed. Let’s unchain ourselves from the things that keep us behind in being a progressive race. Let’s all be great together – uniquely made.
Chakara Conyers is a published author of two novels ‘Hard Dreams’ and ‘Life’s Gamble’, freelance writer, and hip hop journalist. Check out her personal music blog KaraKhaotic.com. For more information about her books and writing services contact her at [email protected] and on Twitter @KaraPublishes @KhaoticNews.