Last night X-man and I read, "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters" by Barack Obama at bedtime. If you've never read it, it's Obama listing all of the things he loves about his girls -- and what people in history also shared the same characteristics.
Our conversation went something like this.
X: "Is Martin King still alive?"
L: "No, he was shot a long time ago before Mommy was born."
X: "Who shot him?"
L: "James Earl Ray."
L: "He didn't like that Martin thought people with different colors of skin should be friends and equals."
X: "Earl Ray wasn't a nice man."
I read some words...
X: "Mom, is Lincoln still alive?"
L: "No, he was shot a long time ago before even my grandparents were born."
X: "Did Earl Ray shoot him too?"
L: "No, John Wilkes Booth."
X: "Why didn't he like Lincoln?"
L: "Because Lincoln wanted black people to not be slaves and to be treated like people. He also wanted them to be able to vote."
I read some more.
X: "Why is Sitting Bull's face like a mountain?"
L: "The picture represents the land he lived on and the time he was alive."
X: "Did someone shoot him, too?"
L: "Probably, let me check." I do a Wikipedia search. "Yes. He was shot by a Lt. Bullhead when Sitting Bull resisted arrest by the U.S. government.."
X: "Why was he arrested? Was he bad?"
L: "White people broke a treaty and took the land of his people, and he was angry, so the Native Americans, who lived here before us, were at war with the white people."
X: "Why do white men always shoot people they don't like?"
L: "I don't know, Baby. I don't know. But it's wrong, and I don't like it."
X: "I won't shoot anybody. I will use my words."
I love that idea and his words. Please let him remember them.