Last week I was messing around with this website that does this face mash thing where they take two faces and create a baby. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world until I realized all the children looked the same no matter who the parents were. But it did get me to thinking, I’ve never really known my father on a personal level and I can’t say how that’s impacted me. I’ve had good role models in my life.
But I’m sure it has in some sense or another. How could it not?
I often think about my son though or who my son will be. I think the dream of any father, of any man is that your child becomes a better person than you were. Is that you leave him a legacy and a path that will allow him to be great. I don’t know who his mom will be let alone what he’ll look like or what his passions will be but I do feel like I’m creating a legacy for him.
Him being proud of me when the day comes is what matters to me most. Him standing up in a classroom and talking about how cool I am or how I read to him.
When I think of Dr. King on a personal level I think of the legacy he left his children, his wife. They had to share him with an entire community, a race, a cause. I’m sure he missed a lot of birthdays and little league games but it was for the greater good and how can you not be proud of that if you’re his children?
MLK had a dream that the world he came into wouldn’t be the same world his grandchildren came into to, that his children grew up in and that came to fruition. More than the speeches, the photos and the quotes is his sacrifice. Because not many are willing to give up what he gave up, to leave your family and peace for a greater good!
When I do have my son and I’m going on book tours or working crazy hours so that he could go to schools I didn’t go to or travel to places I couldn’t I want him to know this didn’t start with me. This started with the men and women that made these sacrifices in 1963, 1964, 1972… I want him to not only have a sense of what I’m giving up to make sure he becomes great but I want him to know what others before he was even thought of gave up.
Today isn’t just about celebrating a man, today is about remembering a legacy of selflessness that is rarely seen anymore. He didn’t run for office or try to build a mega church, he marched, turned the other cheek and pushed for real reform. And it’s not just about Dr. King, it’s about the countless others that were there with him.
My son will be a better man than me as I am a better man than my father. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about what could have been but I do I will forever have a voice. And for better or worse I will use it and I will make a legacy and I will keep fulfilling his dream!
Demez F. White