Today was the start of our Civil Rights Tour through the South and trip to the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. It started off with a beautiful day and takeoff in San Jose, California at 9:50 a.m., one hour stop, eat, and go at the Dallas/Fortworth airport, and patchy but still easy-going landing at the start of our driving tour, Memphis, Tennessee.
Once we arrived, we drove straight to our hotel and within twenty minutes of arrival we were starting our first interview of the trip: Reverend Samuel Kyles.
When I first shook his hand, I could sense all that he had been through, all that he had done, and all that he had seen over the years. Then I heard him talk and I felt the emotion of his time on this earth.
During the interview, he spoke so eloquently and with such poise that I felt an even greater respect than before, for a man who fought for his right to be respected and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and was there when the horrible shot rang through and took Dr. King’s life.
Rev. Kyles’ words caused my eyes and everyone elses’ in the room to burn and tear up. It was almost as if a wave of emotion came from him and took us over. It was wonderful and awe-inspiring.
After about forty minutes into the interview, and after he finished what he was talking about, I had to ask him a question that has been burning in my brain for years: “If Dr. King were present right now, what would you say to and/or do with him? The very first thing and then after?”
Rev. Kyles surprised me with the smile that was beaming on his face. He said that the first thing he would do would be to high five Dr. King, and then rejoice and celebrate. He added that they would also discuss that we have made grounds on achieving the dream but that at the least, a few things still need to happen to fully achieve the dream (he hinted quite a bit more than a few).
After the interview we set out for the streets of Memphis to fill our stomachs. We found our calling…B.B. King’s. The place was amazing and a blast, with great food. The best song of the night (live performance), was Billie Jean. All of us filled with excitement and joy for this journey through our nation’s history seemed to seep out from each when this song came on. Everyone let loose through dancing and laughing in their chairs, including myself.
I’m looking forward to the rest of this trip, learning about every thing (small and big) through our van tour, spending time with everyone, and President-Elect Obama’s Inauguration.
Great first day and night and one of many.