What a curious phrase, ”the final democracy”! The final democracy could be realized only with the registering of the cadences of the black literary voice. This idea has such a long and intricate history in black letters that one could write a book about it. Suffice it to say here that W. H. A. Moore received it from writers such as E. Fortune, Jr., who in 1883 published an essay on ”The Importance of Literature: Its Influence on the Progress of Nations,” and found these ideas
echoed in essays such as a 1905 New York Age editorial entitled “Dearth of Afro-American Writers,” in which T. Thomas Fortune argued that “the capacity of a race is largely measured by the achievements of its writers, in whom its natural vigor and perspicuity of intellect, its highest moral revelations and its most delicate and beautiful emotions should reach consummation.” These statements are only two of many more. A New Negro would signify his presence in the arts, and it was this impulse that lead, of course, to the New Negro Renaissance of the twenties.
Martin Luther King's belief is rooted first and foremost in the teaching of Christ, but no one can really understand him unless aware that he has been influenced also by the great thinkers of the past and the present. He has been inspired above all by Mahatma Gandhi 6 , whose example convinced him that it is possible to achieve victory in an unarmed struggle. Before he had read about Gandhi, he had almost concluded that the teaching of Jesus could only be put into practice as between individuals; but after making a study of Gandhi he realized that he had been mistaken.
It is a gift for my kids to learn in an environment where their experiences are not the experiences of the majority of the kids in the room. Amidst the discomfort, the worrying about what to tell my kid when she asks complicated questions about race in her simple vocabulary, I have found so many gifts. My child does not look side-ways at non-white names. She is not perplexed by non-white hair. (She is perplexed by why her mother won't let her wear all those clicky and awesome beads.) She is talking about race, and it is not just for special occasions like MLK day or black history month. My child is getting a very good education in the classroom and on the playground. She knows about diversity because she is exposed to it, every day when we drop her off at school.