Two weeks ago, the YSEALI fellows got to see Martin Luther King’s hometown in Atlanta and had the honor of attending The National Center for Civil and Human Rights yesterday. It was a moving, revelatory and hopeful experience that I will carry with me forever. We learned even more about Dr. King and what he stood for.
Photo courtesy: Center for Civil and Human Rights.
One of my favourite parts was definitely the lunch counter sits-in simulator. The sheer fortitude that nonviolent protesting requires was crazy and unbelievable. I sat down at the lunch counter simulation and put on the headphones and closed my eyes. As the voices swelled from behind, my hands began to sweat, my back stiffening against the recorded sneers. Yes, it was that real.
The Lunch Counter Sits-In Simulator.
My next favourite part is the part where I got to listen to King’s eulogy for himself (listened twice & cried twice) . It was such an ominous and heartbreaking moment. I don’t think I have ever cried in a museum before, needed so many moments alone to get myself together – yes, it was that sad. This is honestly the best museum I’ve ever been to so far. An excerpt of his eulogy:
“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy tell him not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want him to say. Tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize–that isn’t important. Tell not to mention that have 300 or 400 other awards–that’s not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school. I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.”
(click here for the full version)
The Tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King (his wife) on a brick island within a reflecting pool. He was shot dead in 1968, when he was only 39 years old. Her wife continued to fight for many causes, died when she was 78 years old and never remarried.
I’m glad I got to experience this, it puts today a little more into perspective. Till then.