I just took my bath, put on my pajamas, grabbed my evening snack and settled down on the floor right in front of the big television in our living room. We only have three television stations and one UHF station isn’t very reliable. Luckily, my favorite show, Daniel Boone, is on a station that is coming in clear tonight and even more exciting, it’s being broadcast “in living color.”
From my seven year-old perspective, the plot of Daniel Boone seems so real. I’m pretty sure that I am seeing real history unfolding in my home. Daniel Boone is portrayed by the handsome Fess Parker. He has a Cherokee friend named Mingo. The exciting introductory theme music is playing when a news bulletin breaks across the screen.
The next words I hear are “Dr. Martin Luther King, the apostle of nonviolence and the civil rights movement, has been shot to death in Memphis Tennessee. Dr. King was standing on the balcony of a second story hotel room…”
My mom is a great teacher. Usually when we watch Daniel Boone, she tells me things about pioneers, or a town in Kentucky called Boonesboro, or many other things she reads in history books. Tonight, my mom has to tell me a story similar to the one she told me when I was three and President Kennedy was assassinated. She also has to tell me that there are some white people who don’t like black people. I remember thinking this is all so complicated and scary.
It still is.