Thursday, June 07, 2007
How to Make a Good First Impression
I should have learned by now that eating while driving is not a good idea. Especially when on the way to an appointment at one of the most elite medical schools in the country. I spilled oil and vinegar all over my skirt and tomato all over my shirt, which I didn't realized until I got out of my car in the parking garage. My suitcase full of clothes was of course back where I'm staying, and I didn't have too many options. My plan was to find a bathroom and try to scrub it off, then wait until my clothes dried to go in.
But when you exit the parking garage you have to sign in as a visitor, and they call someone to let them know you are there, and that person has to let you in especially. I kept my hands and arms awkwardly crossed until I had to shake hands. In most archives, you go to one room and sit there with the documents. But of course, here the archivist was really nice and walked me around to introduce me to people and get the documents I needed. So from now on I'll be that researcher with the stains on her clothes. Excellent.
After spending a few hours at Morehouse, I slipped into Ebeneezer Baptist Church just before it closed. Three generations of Kings, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., preached there. I got choked up sitting in the pews, looking at the stage, imagining the grassroots change that developed from those people. Sure Dr. King's sermons were motivating, but he had to be motivated by his congregants, the people who kept coming and kept hoping.
And it makes me sad that the Church is not known for being the genesis of social justice. We recreate patterns of oppression in our local congregations and ignore the problems of our brothers and sisters worldwide. I am fortunate to be a part of a church that is active, but we could do so much more.
The Center for Non-violent Social Change next door feautures exhibits on King, Corretta Scott King, Ghandi, and Rosa Parks. I am increasingly impressed with Ms. King. I knew that she was the first woman to preach a statutory service at St. Paul's cathedral in London, but was unaware she filled in to speak in her husband's absence so often. And she spoke and led so much on her own.
"I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills." --Ghandi