Early Childhood Memories—The Civil Rights Movement and Recent Meetings with Members of the Martin Luther King FamilyBy Mother Tynnetta Muhammad | Last updated: Jan 21, 2013 - 1:13:26 PM
“I, Allah, am the Best Knower, the Seer. These are verses of the book. And that which is revealed to thee from thy Lord is the Truth, but most people believe not. I Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see, and He is established on the Throne of Power, and He made the sun and the moon subservient (to you). Each one runs to an appointed term. He regulates the affair, making clear the messages that you may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.”—Holy Qur’an, Surah 13, verses 1-2
When meeting recently with Reverend Bernice King, daughter of Coretta Scott King and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., at the King’s Center in Atlanta, Georgia on December 2, 2012, my mind was flooded with many memories of my early years growing up in the city of Detroit, Michigan. My social life was immersed with images of the NAACP, Urban League, and other Civil Rights activist organizations all connected to early experiences in the church.
I also retain a sad memory that was published in the Black newspaper, The Michigan Chronicle, in Detroit which showed a photograph of my father and mother, my sister, Karlotta and myself, being about five years old then, being victimized by vandals who had set fire to our home in a relatively decent Polish and Italian neighborhood. My father was a World War II veteran and was aided in the purchase of our home through the Veteran’s Administration that he served. I remember standing with my parents and one of my uncles in the backyard area peering at a large gutted area in the back of the house, thinking as a child, that someone or ones in our neighborhood were guilty of this crime.
My parents made the decision to rebuild our small house with funds granted through the efforts of the NAACP. Many of my activities from childhood up into my teens were associated with the Civil Rights Movement. I even won first place in one of their annual conventions as Miss NAACP held in Detroit, Michigan.
We passed through the Appalachian Mountains careening through areas we identified as hillbilly territories as portrayed in comic strips such as “Little Abner,” and most recently in the TV series entitled, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” not thinking that some of our own bloodline may have been descendents from those racial mixtures.
In my recent meeting with Mrs. Bernice King, I reflected upon my last year’s participation in a special award ceremony honoring her father, Martin Luther King, Jr., that was held on the small island of Bimini in the Bahamas. There I met her distinguished brother, Martin Luther King, III, and his wife, Adrian, who participated in the unveiling of two busts of his father on the island for his time that he had spent there in 1964 and 1968. He found solace and quiet of mind in this garden of paradise where he described the finger of God was placed, while preparing two of his most important speeches.
The King family greeted us warmly as we had met before in Washington, D.C., during the Million Family March in the year 2000. It was during this memorial plaque ceremony in Bimini where I came full circle again to meet individuals among the Civil Rights Movement and social activists from the NAACP and the Urban League who honored our presence and were looking forward to future meetings.
Our brother, Martin Luther King, III and his wife, Adrian, were looking forward to meeting with me again in Atlanta at the end of November or first week of December when I was scheduled to attend the Global Peace Conference. As it turns out, they were out of the city at that time but sent their warm regards to me through email with their apologies that they were unable to be in Atlanta at that time. So there I was at the King Center meeting for the first time his sister who is also CEO of the center working in alliance with the youth program and delegation convening at the conference bringing all of our paths together at that precise moment, in that precise place, with the commitment to make greater strides into the 21st century on the foundation of Peace and Reconciliation of our differences and accepting greater responsibility.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan introduced to the world Eight Steps of Atonement and Reconciliation in the Spirit of the Million Man March, with a pledge that our men, in particular, accept to change their lifestyle to be more responsible for their families and community. We are gradually coming together again to be reminded of our duties and to be united as one.
In all of our journeys from childhood to adult life, the people we meet in all our social settings are destined for greatness and will be united someday soon under one banner and under one voice, and under one faith. Particularly has this been avowed under the Spiritual Direction of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan who made the call to all men. women and children and families of all faiths, of all social class, making no distinction between one or the other; but assembling us as one family with the Divine Call going around the world in the Million Man March in 1995. This is the Divine Call of not one chosen leader but it is the Divine Call of Almighty God, Allah, Himself.
“And He it is Who spread the earth, and made in it firm mountains and rivers. And of all fruits He has made in it pairs, two (of every kind). He makes the night cover the day. Surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect. And in the earth are tracts side by side, and gardens of vines, and corn, and palm-trees growing from one root and distinct roots—they are watered with one water; and We make some of them to excel others in fruit. Surely there are signs in this for a people who understand.” —Holy Qur’an, Surah 13, verses 3-4
To be continued.