Monday, April 05, 2010

WordPlay! WriteNet Week 12

April 4, 1968 was an early spring day in Poughkeepsie, New York, where I was a freshman at Vassar College. I had grown up in Boston, Massachusetts, known for its role in the American War of Independence (from Britain). Ironically, Boston was also known as the Birmingham of the North for the vitriolic racism it harbored. When I was age 7, I attended a freedom school organized and implemented by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a local church to protest the racism in the school system. I also attended a community rally the preceding day. At that age and in that time, I had no idea that I was in the presence of greatness, that Dr. King would go on not only to spearhead the national movement for Civil Rights and justice but also to experience such personal triumphs as his speech at the March on Washington, D.C. in 1963 and winning the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964.

In 1968, I and other African-American students at Vassar were sticking our toes into the tidal wave of change that swept the country. Our efforts resulted in the creation of an African-American studies department at the college as well as increased enrollment of Black students. I was personally crushed to learn of the horrific and violent end to such a peace-loving man. As a statement of grief and celebration, I went to the campus quad the next morning and began reading aloud from "Why We Can't Wait," Dr. King's book. It was my first individual political action, which initiated my career as an activist. One of my first published pieces recounts the events of that day: April 4, 1968.

Writing Exercises

External Exercises
(see previous posts for detailed instructions)

1. Observation Exercise
2. Reading Report
3. Writing Journal
4. Sensory Details Exercise
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Weekly Exercises: March 5, 2010

1. Pick a date that has emotional significance for you and write about where you were on that date.
2. Think about a public figure that was heroic for you when you were a child and write about how you came to know of that person.
3. Start with the phrase, "Everything changed when..." and keep writing.
4. What makes you angry?

There is no wrong way to do it: just WRITE!

1 comment:

carmen said...

Glad that you are back!