Editor, Daily Press:

In reading the account of the funeral of Coretta Scott King, many dignitaries praised the King family for their work to bring freedom and justice in a nonviolent manner. Poet Maya Angelou said King was “a study in serenity,” and she challenged us to carry on the message of nonviolence.

I think the civil rights movement in this country, although not entirely peaceful, was a modern miracle of the past century. It was people like Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta who provided the leadership for nonviolence, but it was also the everyday women who decided not to hate and passed that on to their children.

At the end of the 1960s, I was in an African-American church in Chicago, where I met an amazing woman. She was a grandmother who was telling us about living in the high-rise projects. Even though she had pleaded with the management to fix up their building, her grandchild had fallen to his death through a faulty window screen. She said something that has stuck with me for 35 years. When quizzed about her struggles, she just said, “I cannot hate.”

I thought of all the black women who had made that same decision, even through the agony of slavery and injustice, and who had passed on that same message to their children. King was a product of that long history of women who were a “study in serenity.”

Jane Bond

Tahlequah

Tags