Monday, January 19, 2009
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Over the past two years, I have spent the Martin Luther King Jr. in-service day, organizing community service for my fellow faculty members. This year due to a cancelled mammogram, I ended up participating in the formal, district-organized program…it was a good day. The keynote of the morning session was an abridged version of a documentary film, shown on PBS, about the DeWolf family, the most successful slave traders in the United States. The family hailed from Bristol, Rhode Island. The myth of Northerners as abolitionists who somehow remain untainted by the scourge of slavery was dashed. Our country, all of us, grew and flourished on the backs of Africans stolen from their homes…and we are all, in a way, linked to that. Rather sobering….something I need to think on.
Feeling guilty about NOT doing community service this year (especially since our new president and his wife called us all to do exactly that), I thought I might at least reclaim the time in my own fashion. Thus, while I listened and watched, I knit a prayer shawl ( a traditional Lions Brand yarn and design), destined to go with our church’s Nicaragua Medial Mission team over spring break. So as I listened to how our country built its wealth and its destiny on the backs of enslaved peoples from Africa, my hands attempted to somehow redeem this time for at least one woman in a third world country who might benefit from the cover of a shawl crafted from my hands….