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.


lv2trnscrb said...

what a wonderful memory to share of a very special woman


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.