In honor of MLK Day

16 January, 2006

I bring you this funny from Overheard in New York:

MC guy: So…you’ve probably been out hitting the New Year’s sales…What’s the next holiday to get its own sale? Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? I wonder how they’ll promote that sale.
Audience guy: …Free at last!

Family story, from my father (so who knows how true it is, but I think my mom has verified it): my parents once met Martin Luther King Jr. They were organizers in the St Louis area and went up to Chicago to a rally–let’s see, they were married in ’66 and by then MLK was doing the housing stuff in Chicago so it must have been around then. They had been assured of a chance to meet him by some friend or other, but when they got there they were at the back of the crowd and the friend was at the front. My dad despaired, but my mom–who is a petite 5 feet and knows how to use it–grabbed him by the hand and wove her way to the front as only short cute people can do. They got there, they shook his hand, and my father, who had thought of a million things to say on the way up, went with a simple “St Louis needs you.” Dr. King smiled and said to him, “Chicago needs me more.”

(My mom’s most-told civil rights era story, by contrast, is about the time when they got stood up for a meeting by Jesse Jackson. They sat in his apartment for hours, and played with Jesse Jr, but he never showed up. Might have been the same trip.)


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