I thought I would talk about one of my personal heroes. Yesterday in the USA, we celebrated MLK day. I was in the 7th grade and we were studying American Civics. I never really cared for school very much, or anything else for that matter. One day, we are studying the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Being white and from the South, this part of history can be uncomfortable.
I'll set the scene. I am a 12 year old white redneck in a class with a bunch of people just like me except one Black kid. I am not to interested in this subject. To be honest, I was not interested in any subjects at this time. Our teacher Mr. Patterson announces to the class he would be playing a recording today. He plays the "I Have a Dream" speech and for the first time ever he has my undivided attention. I listen to the whole speech and I am blown away with the commanding orator I had just heard. I raise my hand to ask a question after the speech. Mr. Patterson looks at me with trepidation. I have been nothing but trouble in his class all year. He hesitated to call on me, but reluctantly did so. For the first time ever in his class, I asked an honest question, "Mr. Patterson, Where did he learn to speak like that?"
Like a skilled boxer he had been dodging my childish, ignorant blows for months. He waited for me to lower my guard and this tiny man delivered the one, two punch of my adolescent academic career. He knew the time to strike was then and he knew the perfect thing to say. He called all of us Mr. and Mrs.
"Mr. Defiant, He speaks in the manner he does because he is educated, well read, a student of both academia and life, and if anyone ever wants to be able to speak like he does that individual should study and read anything and everything he or she can."
TKO. I knew then if I ever wanted to really leave this godforsaken one horse town, my abusive father, and the cult I was a captive of Mr. Patterson and Dr. King just showed me the way out. The rest was History.
Thank you Mr. Patterson and Dr. King.