[Ohio-talk] What A Memory

Wanda Sloan wsloan118 at roadrunner.com
Fri Apr 6 14:24:00 UTC 2018

Good story

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From: Ohio-Talk [mailto:ohio-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Smith, JW
via Ohio-Talk
Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 12:36 PM
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Cc: Smith, JW <smithj at ohio.edu>
Subject: [Ohio-talk] What A Memory

Fifty years ago today, I sat in my grandparents' bedroom watching the only
television in the house with my family. It was a small set and we were
watching an episode of the show Bewitched. I do not remember the episode,
but I do remember that about halfway through the show, an announcer broke in
and said, "I am sorry to have to tell you that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
was shot in Memphis, Tennessee tonight." I remember as a nine-year-old child
hearing the audible gasps of the adults, and then about 15 minutes later,
another announcer said, "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died tonight".

I was raised on the south side of Chicago in a very eclectic and diverse
neighborhood and the houses were very close together. In fact, in some
cases, you could almost reach out of the window of one house and touch your
neighbor's house. It was a warm evening and most windows were opened,
including ours, and I shall never forget the cries and the moans of my
neighbors after the announcement of Dr. King's assassination. Most of the
neighborhood gathered in the street, held hands, and comforted each other.
There was such anguish and sadness that you could have cut with a knife. The
next day, we were dismissed from school because of all of the violence in
Chicago and we were told to kneel on the seats of our school buses in an
attempt to avoid the random and rampant shooting that was occurring. I
remember the National Guard in my neighborhood with machine guns set up on
the corners of our streets. I shall never forget these memories and I shall
never forget Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because of his voice, vision, and
his commitment to his cause.

Some will argue that we have yet to reach the Promised Land that he spoke
about in his prophetic speech the night before his assassination, and still
others would argue that his dream never came true, but as I sit here in my
office at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio a blind and black boy from the
south side of Chicago, I firmly believe that Dr. King would be proud of just
how far we have come in many ways. Keep in mind, that during his lifetime,
he had to endure separate but equal status of Americans, whites only
swimming pools, park benches, bathrooms, water fountains, and even lunch
counters. If a black person was walking down the sidewalk and a white person
was approaching them, it was expected that the black person would step off
of the sidewalk and let the white person pass, even if the streets were
muddy and filled with puddles. I choose today to keep dreaming and to keep
marching toward that Promised Land that Dr. King both saw and made reality.


Dr. jw Smith
School of Communication Studies
Scripps College of Communication
Ohio University
Schoonover Center, Rm. 401
Athens, OH 45701
smithj at ohio.edu<mailto:smithj at ohio.edu>
T: 740-593-4838

If you see someone today without a smile, why don't you give them one of

My Bio<http://www.ohiocommstudies.com/people/smith/>

Check out some of my music here<https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jwsmith22>

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