Why It Still Matters

John Edward Lawson


So I’ve been discussing the Civil Rights Movement–in particular the life (and death) of Martin Luther King, Jr.–with my son increasingly over the last month. For him it’s all just ancient history, abstract, like our discussions regarding various wars, but with less for him to seize on without Hollywood-style armies.

So we talk about how my father was born in the early 1930s, and how he couldn’t be in the same public places as other people. Or how people like him could be robbed or killed or wronged in all sorts of ways back then without being guaranteed justice. My father was already in his 30s when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

We also covered how it was difficult for my father and mother because back when I was born people like them weren’t supposed to marry each other, whereas now it’s not a big deal. My son was shocked…

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