A Passion for History

Why am I starting this journey of writing a blog? The simple answer is to fulfill my passion of history and writing.  I’ve had fun reading and creating dramatic presentations.  The more history I read, the more I wanted to create.  But now I want to put some of that creative energy down in written form.
My passion for history began the same time I discovered the power of and legacy of historic figures. Growing up I remember watching documentaries that played old clips of Martin Luther King giving his “I have a Dream” speech, and I remember, like many others, being captivated by his words, his style, and his vision. I was always drawn to MLK because we share the same birthday. So every year that I celebrated my own birthday, I was always surrounded by MLK day and all the history that comes with it. Where I grew up in Akron, OH, every January in school we studied a little about MLK. My family also revered MLK and made sure we grew up with an appreciation of black history. Although the textbooks we used didn’t reflect too much black history, our parents and our teachers made special efforts to make sure we knew our story.  It was mandatory in our home to watch Roots every time it came on network TV.  Same for Shaka Zulu and any other black history mini-series. I was lucky enough to have teachers who knew that it was imperative that we learn a more inclusive history than what was reflected in our “old” school textbooks.
My first memory of being on stage was in early elementary. Our class memorized and recited small portions of King’s “I have a Dream” speech. I was given the famous last lines of “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!” Every student read off their portion with different degrees of public speaking comfort. When my turn came around, I said my lines the only way I knew how; the way I had heard it many times before. The audience lit up. We were all given a favorable ovation. And I will never forget the young student (who had to be in Kindergarten or First grade) who came up to me afterwards and asked very lightly with sincere eyes “Are you Martin Luther King?”  I smiled gently and said no I’m not. But I took a mental note of the power of history and of historic portrayal.