Miller Fellow Blog
Tuesday, 19 January 2021 00:03

Something Very Special Featured

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Something Very Special 

 

As the buzz of the audience settled to a hum, a young girl stood bright eyed, taking in the excitement. 

 

It was 1965, during the final moments leading up to Martin Luther King's commencement speech at Antioch College.The campus was alive with sounds of laughter and conversation;  the earthy smell of grass filling the air. Cardinals flitted towards the treetops, as crowds of families and community members set up colorful lawn chairs. Long haired, tie dye wearing, college students climbed high up on tree limbs for a better view. 

 

Jalyn Roe was ten years old. She was a student at The Antioch School. As she stood, she noticed her mother and Coretta Scott King sitting near the right side of the stage. She watched as her family and her community members adjusted their seats, calling out to friends from across the lawn. Her smile- spreading wide across her face, illuminated her thoughts: “This was something very special.” 

 

Later that evening, Coretta and Martin Luther King Jr. accompanied Jalyn and her family back to their house to wind down. As the grown folks talked in the living room, spirals of smoke sauntered from their glowing cigarettes. The smell of tobacco, along with sounds of laughter and conversation, followed Jalyn as she skipped upstairs. She was going to get an art piece she’d made at school. She was going to present it to Dr.King. 

Dr. Martin Luther King was immersed in conversation when he noticed Jalyn and her ashtray. She held it out to him in the palm of her hand. 

His silence was striking. Her heart raced. Dr.King turned to face her; a beloved elder facing his pupil. Suddenly, a golden spotlight shone onto her, beads of sweat gathered on her palms. Dr.King held the ashtray like a trophy. A small, crooked, bumpy trophy made out of clay the young girl glazed herself. It was the work of a child- dazzling in its bumpiness, each clay edge soldered together-sloppily, with unbridled excitement. 

Jalyn’s artwork captivated Dr. King. 

“Did you make this?” he asked. 

Jalyn smiled: “I did, I certainly did.” 

His words- reverberating throughout the room, glided through her ears, and settled in her heart. 

“This is wonderful.” Dr.King said, “Always create what you have inside, bring it forth, bring it out.”

 

This is the story of The Antioch School Alumni: Jalyn Roe meeting Martin Luther King after his 1965 commencement speech at Antioch College. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy is one of dedication and perseverance in upholding equality and justice for black and brown communities both in the U.S and abroad. For Jalyn Roe, she will remember his legacy to include many other important teachings: of creation and self expression; of the joys of curiosity, and the wonder in the process.

 

Read 616 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 January 2021 20:41

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