Poem - I'm Sorry Dr. King Essay

I was born in 1958 and raised in Tallahassee, Florida. It was George Wallace country….

You were alive
When I was a child
I knew of your torment
But still I smiled
Surrounded by bigots
I ignored your scars
We waved the flag
But it was the stars and bars
While you marched
To remove your chains
We played rebel soldier
And said “The South shall rise again!”
Someone called you that word
And yes… I laughed
It all seemed so funny
A young boy gave you the shaft
Later I discovered
My parents rejected this thought
We were called “black lover”
I said “No! We’re not!”
How sad as I ran
Humiliated to find
That those who looked like me
Hated my parents’ mind
I wanted to be good
I wanted to be proud
Instead I was afraid
I couldn’t say it out loud
And while I lived in shame
A silent scared racist
You answered the calling
And began to resist
But it took so long
For me to see
The things that you fought
Happened right in front of me
Labeled 3/5 of a man
Not worthy of a drink
Only to be made fun of
I didn’t know what to think
I’m sorry Dr. King
It’s all I can say now
I know who is worthy
And to you I bow
By any means necessary
Was how they committed sin
While you turned the other cheek
They rejected you at the inn
You walked with those
Who were proud and fearless
While you asked to be human
In fact you were peerless
Was Jesus’ journey less difficult?
Rejected from birth
Bringing us together
With love from this earth?
More than a man
But as weak as another
You gave your life
To save your own brother
Yes I am sorry Dr. King
For being so weak
For not standing up
For being afraid to speak
But today
I can only hope
That you understand
While I continue to grope
Oh how I wish
That my weakness never sprouted
That my goodness
Was never doubted
But to sit by your side
And look you in the eye
And beg for your dream
As you ask me why
Why does a white man
Ask a slave for a dream?
Why does a white man
Ask a slave for self-esteem?
Why do I ask?
Because I have done nothing
I’ve lived a life of frivolity
While you died for something
I have squandered all I was given
Expecting it as my right
While you planted what was taken
And brought the slave to life
In an immoral world
Of material possession
You earned moral superiority
And gained entrance to heaven
Who do I answer to?
What penance can I pay?
I am sorry Dr. King
Will you let me stay?
Will you let me learn
Of my shortcomings as a man?
Is it any wonder
That I now kiss your hand?
Yes I am sorry Dr. King
As sorry as a child can be
I can make no promises
Except pray for people to be free
I’m sorry Dr. King
But I’m also proud
That I came to know you
And finally removed the shroud
Of bigotry and racism
From my small mind
If we ever meet
I hope this is what you will find