Title: [Dr. & Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front] / World Telegram & Sun photo by Herman Hiller. – Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Today is Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. In examining the legacy I find myself thinking mostly of strong women of color in America today and the examples and inspiration I find in all strong, persistent women engaged in making the world better. That’s probably why instead of staying with Dr. King this morning, I found myself thinking of Coretta Scott King, his widow. She was amazing.


Did you see
the sunrise on April 5, cold and bright and shaking?
Or was your gaze out the window without recognition,
your mind on four children
their young understandings pushing back against your own pain?

Did you see
cameras everywhere watching and dissecting your grief?
Did you allow a hope for no more white bullets or bombs
through the front of the house
while you swaddled and rocked babies in the back of the house?

Did you see
a veiled rocky path forward, backward not a choice?
A day. A year. A lifetime of patient persistence
And unwavering love
called pursuit of justice that expanded in spite of spite?

But did you?
That first bare morning did you give brief audience to
your own grief, too deep and private for anyone else
to really understand?
Did you raise your beautiful voice once for your own broken heart?


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