Wellfleet Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.

We don’t tend to talk a lot about race here on Cape Cod, largely because the population is 95% white and 2% black, and we think we don’t have to. But the conversation presents itself all the same. Just last month the Barnstable County Commissioners were willing and eager to accept the resignation of a county employee who dared to express her opinion, in a forum at the community college, that all white people were racist. Ironically, the Forum itself had been convened for the very purpose of having that conversation, in reference to the recent police killings of African Americans Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and Tamir Rice, a twelve year-old boy waving a toy gun in Cleveland, Ohio.

Monday January 19 marks the national celebration of the birthday of the Reverend Martin Luther King, whose name is synonymous with the subject of race in America, and every year for the past 13 years, the frozen Main Street of Wellfleet has welcomed the conversation with its boisterous Martin Luther King Day parade, replete with flags, banners, drums, and song, culminating in a teach-in at the Library.

Joining me are Sallie Tighe, Paula Ericson, and Harriet Korim, the organizers of that parade, for a discussion about the event, Dr. King’s legacy, and justice.

The Lowdown with Ira Wood, Tuesdays at 12:30 PM and Saturdays at 5:30 AM on WOMR-FM, a Pacifica Radio affiliate station. Streaming and podcasts on WOMR.ORG.