Celebrating MLK Day

I remember tuning in the shortwave radio to pull the celebration of the first nationally recognized holiday in Dr. King's memory.  The battery was taken from the moto for this day.  We sat under the little lemon tree in my parcel and I was awestruck - half a world away, in the land of my ancestors, on the day the United States finally honored him. 

Tears streamed down my face as I began to explain in Tshiluba what this meant to me and millions of other African Americans.  My kids, who all called me Yaya Nsoni (big sister Sonia), were still amazed that the descendants of enslaved Africans in the US equaled the population of Zaire.

Through my tears they listened as I explained this was the first holiday to honor an African American in the US and how long it had taken to reach this point.  They listened as I spoke of Dr. King's efforts in Civil Rights.  They joined me in celebrating his memory.  Using a bit of French and Tshiluba, we translated "We Shall Over Come."  Singing together we honored the memory of a king, Dr. King, whose dreams we must still work to make a reality.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.