Coming around on Martin Luther King Jr.: my grandma, the black church and me
"Dr King influenced my grandma, who in turn influenced me." "In my youth, my Grandma wanted me to be more like MLK, but I didn't think he had anything to offer a kid like me." D. Watkins shares in Salon some timeless words of wisdom as he reflects on growing up in east Baltimore; his relationship with the church, Martin Luther King Jr. and his grandmother. "Grandparents were the driving force of our households in the '90s. Not to generalize, but it seemed like no one was really being raised by their parents back then. It could've been the crack era, mass incarceration, people making kids before they were ready to raise them, or a combination of it all, but the Gen Xers and Millennials I knew were raised by granny, who remembers when the black church used to be the epicenter of the black community. Our grandparents invested their all in church because it was a one-stop shop for everything African Americans needed to survive oppression — where you can get food if you are hungry, receive free marriage counseling, a small business loan, guidance, tutoring, prayer, praise, worship and basically help of all kinds. I don’t think enslaved Africans would have been able to get through slavery, or survive in America after it ended, without the black church. That resiliency is what King represented and why our grandmas honored him with a permanent place in living rooms across the country."