Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Aunt Coretta"

I graduated Law School in 1991.

There were two graduation ceremonies -- the graduation ceremony with the entire University, and then a smaller one, just with the Law School.

The Commencement Speaker at the University graduation was then-President George Bush.  We all had to walk through metal detectors before we could graduate.  We sat there in the sun with thousands of others and listened to a moving speech about ... free trade with China.

We then proceeded over to our own graduation ceremony, where the commencement speaker was a professor from the school.  (Can't even remember who it was.)

But, before he spoke, the Dean noted that we had a special guest in our audience, and asked her if she wouldn't mind saying a few words.

We didn't know it at the time (at least, I didn't), but one of my classmates was Coretta Scott King's nephew.  (A name like "Scott" doesn't always ring a bell.)  And his "Aunt Coretta" was in the audience to see him graduate. 

I don't know if Coretta Scott King was often asked to make impromptu addresses wherever she went, but she certainly was a poised and thoughtful speaker.  She was, of course, there because she was proud of her nephew, but she managed to share a little bit of that pride for the rest of us.  And because she was who she was, she also reminded us of the obligations that we have to a society -- both as citizens and as (new) lawyers with a responsibility to uphold the Constitution and make certain its protections extend to everybody.

Ask any of my friends and family who were at my graduation who my commencement speaker was -- not one will name President Bush or the law school professor.  We all remember Aunt Coretta.

My condolences on her passing to her family, and everyone touched by her life.

3 comments:

lv2trnscrb said...

what a wonderful memory to share of a very special woman

betty

tammyg22 said...

Wow.  I never knew that.  Thanks for sharing it.

helmswondermom said...

What an honor that was.  And what a memory for you to have.
Lori