A moment with Martin Luther King, Jr

On my hurried, self-absorbed march through the Atlanta, Georgia airport (why do planes always land on the exact opposite end of the airport from their connections?), I encountered a quiet treasure that reminded me powerfully of the world beyond my own tiny mind: a few of Martin Luther King, Jr’s own favourite things, on loan to the airport by members of the King family – glasses that he didn’t need and hardly wore, but that he felt made him look distinguished; the transistor radio that he carried on marches so he could listen to how the world was reacting to his activism even as it happened; and (most lovely) his wristwatch, a small piece of tech that was warmed by his body, that glinted in the sunlight while he did all his amazing work in the world, and that told him, privately, of time passing. Martin Luther King treasuresEspecially in shuttling through Georgia to attend the Midwest Modern Language Association’s annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri, a state for which the NAACP has issued a travel advisory for people of colour, I was encouraged by these quiet objects of bravery, owned and used by such a person.

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