“Does anyone know who this man is?” asked the teacher with a playful smile. The question proved her worth on many levels. One of the two women in charge of the small class of four and five year old pre-kindergartners, she was about the only diversity these white youngsters ever experienced. And on this occasion her husband, also black, came to the classroom on some errand still wearing his business attire. He towered a healthy six foot two over the seated suburbanites-in-training.
The children shook their heads, revealing that they did not have a clue who the man was.
“M-? Is this your dad?” she joked again at poor M-‘s expense.
M- opened her eyes wide, shook her head in the horizontal plane and verbalized, “No.”
“So no one knows who this man is?” the teacher egged on one last time.
Finally, a beacon of light. Of all children, it was the daughter of Pete Deakon himself–writer of should-be-world-renowned blog post Black People Does Not Exist and self-proclaimed leader of the twenty-first century Renewed Effort to Stop Self-Segregation Movement in America (Denver its origins)–it was his little girl, the beloved H-, that fearlessly raised her hand and said, “I know who he is.”
Naturally, other children began to follow their new leader and place their hands in the air, indicating that they too had come to recognize the man.
Quieting down the kids, the teacher asked, “H-, you know who this man is?”
“He’s Martin Luther King!”
There are instances, as rare as double rainbows and three wolf moons, where the lines between our concept of pure joy and the reality of it blur. This is one of them. Take a moment, then, and join me in both picturing and experiencing the delight of the adults present in that classroom last week.
The man did not disappoint, by the way. He looked down at H- and declared, “I do have a dream.”