As the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Angelou talks with the mother of a special girl who attended the groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. Dr. Angelou also talks about the legacy of Dr. King with friend, fellow civil rights activist and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young.
Among the leaders and politicians attending the November 2006 groundbreaking was a fifth grade girl named Everett and her family. Dr. Angelou says Everett raised and donated $1,500 for the memorial fund. According to Everett's mother, Cathy, the 10-year-old was inspired to collect funds after seeing a television commercial for the memorial fundraising effort called Kids for King. Cathy says her family has found new meaning in the way they celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. "I think what the children and I have come away with is, it is a day of mutual respect for all people," says Cathy.
Andrew Young was with Dr. King the day he was assassinated. Both Dr. Angelou and Andrew worked alongside Dr. King, not only for civil rights, but to improve the plight of the poor as well. In fact, Andrew says, "The poor people's campaign, I always felt, was one of the things that led to Martin's death."
Dr. Angelou says it was a long, hard fight to have Dr. King's birthday finally recognized as a national holiday on January 15, 1986. Today, Dr. Angelou hopes young people do not think of Dr. King as "larger than life." Instead, she says everyone should remember him as a great man, whose footsteps they can follow. "They need to be told time and again that [King] is great and was great, and human."
Published on January 10, 2007