by Melineze Logan Hite
( This is my letter written in honor of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
January 17th, 2000
Happy Birthday, Martin,
It is so good to talk to you. I wish I could talk to you face to face, but it is impossible. I'm writing this letter to express my gratitude for what you have done. I know you've done many things. You've achieved greatness, and you've had much success. I'm not so grateful or indebted to you because of those things, but I'm grateful to you because you're the essence of what a Black man and a Black father should be. I want to take this time to say "thank you".
Thank you for coming into my home and communicating and speaking words which I had only heard in literature books and other school books. Thank you for having courage and leadership skills that I thought only white admirals, colonels, and lieutenants possessed. Thank you for being dedicated, loyal, and loving to your family. Thank you for dedicating your life for me and other African-Americans, because you believed in us and loved us like Moses loved the children of Israel. Thank you for standing up for me when I could not stand up for myself. Thank you for going to jail for me when I was too afraid to do it for myself. Thank you for marching for me when I could only watch and pray for you from my television set. Thank you for carrying the burden when I couldn't possibly carry the load. Thank you for believing in me when I didn't even believe in myself. Thank you for continuing to pray to God for me when I thought God had abandoned my whole race. Thank you for keeping the faith when I had none. Thank you for speaking to millions for me when I was at a loss for words. Thank you for sitting in the front of the bus for me when I was too scared to. Thank you for sitting at the "white only" lunch counter for me when I was too afraid but hungry. Thank you for drinking at the "white only" water fountain for me when I thirsted with fear. Thank you for showing the world that, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God." Thank you for leaving a legacy of peace, love, dedication, justice, and courage. Thank you for filling me with pride at the mere mention of your great name. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to look for and get employment other than that of a porter, a janitor, or a maid. I can be an engineer, a lawyer, a scientist, a teacher, a nurse, a doctor, a Supreme Court justice, or whatever I work hard to become. Thank you for being my hero. Thank you for being there when I had no one to turn to. Thank you for loving us and caring for us, when it ultimately threated your life and your family's life.
Thank you for giving your life for me. Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for being the epitome or ideal example of what a strong Black man and a strong Black father should be.
Happy Birthday, Martin.
(Blowing out the candles on the lighted cake.)