Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr

I am working this holiday, but my heart celebrates with those who honor Martin Luther King today.

In 1961, I went to work for the Houston Lighting & Power Company. It was my first job, and immediately I encountered female discrimination. It surprised me because I had never even thought that the restrictions placed on women were discriminatory. They were, but I did not know it, similar to the way I was not fully aware of how blacks were discriminated against. To me, it was normal; it was just the way it was.

Of course I had heard of the marches and civil unrest that was taking place in the South, but it did not affect me. I remember the first time I saw a black person eating at a large department store food counter in downtown Houston. I also remember riding a Greyhound bus as a kid, and the blacks had to sit in the back. I remember “coloreds” water fountains. I remember picking cotton and the blacks picked in one field, while we whites picked in the other.

It was in the 1970s that I learned that women, white or black, could not get credit in their names. I still use the credit card that I was able to get in my own name, instead of my husband’s name. Women had a hard time getting jobs in the professional fields. For blacks and for women, it did not miraculously change overnight. It still is a hard fought battle.

So I honor Martin Luther King this day. He had a great effect on my life as a white female. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave blacks, and white women, the same rights that white men already had.

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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