During Southern Girl Soapery's seven-plus years in business, I've struggled each year with how to handle certain holidays: Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and more. To slap up an advertisement for a sale doesn't honor the meaning of those days. Many people post inspirational quotes or shocking photos. But I always wonder if those are shared because it's expected or because of true feelings. I suspect the reality is split.
So, I avoid the topic, side-stepping both offense and honor. And that never sits right with my conscience either. Enter Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
I'm a white, Southern woman. I try to stay thoughtful, be proactive, and keep to my lane when it comes to race. And I fail miserably. Then I try again.
I'm incredibly proud that Martin Luther King, Jr. is a son of the South. Proud of the good he and his legacy have done. And I'm equally ashamed he was killed here for the work that he did. And of how much we still need his vision today.
The Words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
- "I Have A Dream..." Speech (National Archives, PDF)
- "I Have A Dream..." Speech (YouTube)
- Valentine to Coretta Scott King (King Institute)
- Books & Bibliography (The King Center)
That's my version of Southern pride, loving this land because of, in spite of, and with hope for what can be.
King's birthday became a federal holiday in 1983, about 15 years after his murder. We will observe the holiday on January 20 this year, imperfectly and with hope.
In just about every article written about the day, the call is made to "Make it a day on, not a day off"...a day of service. That's fitting, isn't it? To be inspired to make every day count in honor of a life wider than it was long.
I will be donating 10% of all product sales (minus shipping costs) on Southern Girl Soapery's web store on January 20th to the Southern Center for Human Rights in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy. Shop now!