I was not prepared for the emotional dam that broke with the picture Nanette Laster shared on an early post the morning of Monday, January 16, 2023. Dr. Martin Luther King's presence filled the photo as he stood there, hand resting on the Poplar Street sign, Joan Baez by his side. I had heard of King's nonviolent approach; I knew We Shall Overcome would be heard as the students moved closer to the John Rundle High School Campus. The above picture ... grainy and blurred, almost dulling the tension that was building, had aired just two weeks before. Many families watched and waited.
The haunting picture shared by Nanette also showed two teenage girls who would, within a matter of minutes, be on the front line as 150 black students entered an all white school in Grenada, MS. I watched from the windows of Mrs. Lamar's English class on that September 12,1966 morning ... a ninth grader ... not at all ready for what would soon unfold. On the other hand, as trained as the soon-to-be new students were in passive resistance, could anything really prepare them for the rage, the entrenched hatred of change that would take on human shape with clubs and chains on the front lawn of our school?
In response to the historical moment in time posted by my friend, I re-posted with comment. Others responded. Lee Boteler, your words were strong and suggestive of no timeline on the moratorium of remaining silent: "The shame of many that day for their actions ..., and the shame of many of us for remaining silent."
Who are the many faces captured in the files of historic pictures embedded deep in our memories? They have names. They have stories. Is it really possible I only engaged in communication from the side lines throughout my high school years even after the eye-opening experience of that school morning?
I have to believe it's not too late to start conversations that move people toward yes , toward hope for all mankind.