Category Archives: History

Canadian paper gives Kitsap legislator a forum on the eve of 50 years since MLK’s ‘Dream’

Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In January 2012 we published a story about state Rep. Drew Hansen’s treatment of the speech, which is on display in a book, The Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation, he wrote for the speech’s 40th anniversary.

This week Hansen gets to illustrate the speech’s significance again in a piece in The Globe and Mail, A Canadian national newspaper based in Toronto. The piece is an interactive exercise, allowing the reader to read King’s speech and click on highlighted segments that lead to context penned by Hansen.

Hansen highlights the speech’s focus on poverty, shows how King deviated from his prepared text and provides context for the realities related to the “I Have a Dream” portion of what is now King’s career-defining moment. The Globe and Mail piece is an instructive way to learn more about the speech and the era that surrounded it.

UPDATE: Hansen’s take on King’s speech has been all over the place this week. Today he has a column in the New York Times.

Hansen is referenced in a FoxNews piece and one in USA Today on former basketball coach George Raveling, who said he has the copy of King’s written speech. Hansen also has a column focusing on Bayard Rustin on Politico, and is referenced in another USA Today piece.

Memories of a governor, from an ‘adopted’ daughter

Note from Steven Gardner: I was working the day we found out Booth Gardner had died. Later that day Annette Griffus, one of our sports reporters, told me about how he had treated her family. I asked her to write something for our blog. I think you’ll be glad she agreed.

Annette Griffus writes:

I knew Booth Gardner wasn’t doing well physically in his battle with Parkinson’s disease the last year or so, but when the word came that the former Democratic senator and governor died March 16 in Tacoma, it saddened me nonetheless.

I knew Booth when I was a teenager growing up in Spokane.

My mom was the administrative assistant to the secretary of the Labor Council with the AFL-CIO in Spokane.

When Pierce County Executive and former state Sen. Gardner was gearing up for his first campaign run for the governorship, he met my mother and the two formed a sister-brother type friendship.

I have two distinct memories of Booth.

The first was, I believe, when he was in Spokane after his election in 1985. I was 14 years old and Mm and I went to the Ridpath Hotel to see him.

While waiting, a woman kept talking to us and telling us how she knew the governor.

Mom and I didn’t say anything.

When Booth came out to the assembled crowd, we waited until he saw us.

He greeted us joyfully, giving me a hug, and with his arm around my shoulder turned to the same woman and said, “Have you met my daughter?”

Needless to say she was dumbfounded.

That was how Booth introduced me, as well as my sister.

We were his adopted “kids.”

The other clear memory I have is during a family vacation to Olympia. We had friends who lived in Tumwater and one day mom, my sister and I went to the capitol building to see Booth.

We didn’t have an appointment and when his secretaries (He had four!) asked Mom who she was, she said to tell him his sister was here.

Booth came out of the office and greeted us all with a big smile and hugs all around. He led us back into his office and we talked. I’m not sure what it was, but it was thrilling for a 15-16 year old to have the governor of the state treat us like family.

That was the day that he took the three of us on a tour of the capitol building, introducing my sister and I as his daughters and mom as his sister It sounds weird, I know, but it was really sweet.

He also made my sister and I honorary Washington State Legislative pages that day. I still have my page badge.

I also remember before we said “Goodbye” in his office, he told me that I couldn’t date unless I got his permission.

I never did.

Even though Booth and I would almost certainly disagree on politics now, the memories I have of him had little to do with politics and everything to do with a nice man who treated my family with respect.

I’ll always be grateful for that.

Unsolicited Thoughts on 9/11

Listening to reporter Steve Gardner conduct a phone interview last week for a story on the 9/11 memorial planned at Bremerton’s Evergreen Park reminded me of a visit I made to New York City about a month after the destruction of the World Trade Center.

Kitsap’s memorial to those who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11th will feature two steel beams from New York’s World Trade Center, pieces of stone from the Pentagon and some representation of the crash in Pennsylvania, said Dave Fergus of Rice Fergus Miller Architects. Fergus said he will have rough designs ready sometime in May. Organizers, who have raised about $80,000, hope to have the memorial completed groundbreaking on the memorial by this Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Visitors will be able to touch the beams. “There’s something very emotional about that that puts you in that place,” Fergus said. “As a visitor you become part of the memorial.”

In October, when we wrote about the Kitsap 9/11 Memorial Project committee’s plans for a site featuring wreckage from the WTC, a heated discussion ensued among readers about whether it is appropriate to display the beams. They seem to symbolize different things to different people: a sacred reminder of a nation united in grief, an ugly reminder of despicable acts or nothing at all.

Here, for what it’s worth, is what I think of when I look at the beams, as I have when they were on display at the Kitsap County Fair.

I grew up outside New York City, and often went back to visit my mom.

I brought my oldest son to visit Granny when he was 13 (1997). Passing through NYC, we visited the World Trade Center on a Sunday, when it was almost deserted. We ran through the empty, snaking barrier maze and took a dizzying elevator ride up one of the Twin Towers.

The windows on the observation level of the South Tower were canted out, so we had the sensation of hanging above the criss-cross of city streets. The yellow taxis below looked like Matchbox cars. Higher than an airplane on take-off, we could see the city’s bridges. To the east was Long Island (where I grew up), to the north, Southern Connecticut, where my mother lived in an assisted living center.

I made another visit to my mom in October, 2001, about a month after the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. I’ve never been fond of flying, but I felt, as did many, that carrying on with my travel plans was an act of defiance against other would-be terrorists and an act of solidarity with other Americans. As the plane descended over New Jersey farmland, we got a glimpse of the NYC skyline, and all one could think was, “My God, they’re really gone.”

I met up with my sister in Grand Central Station, where photos of the missing covered the hallways. Makeshift signs read, “Have you seen … “ “She was wearing … “ “Cantor Fitzgerald employee …” “Please call …”

We took a subway down to the lower end of Manhattan to view the wreckage. The first thing I noticed on stepping up into the street was bright sunlight and a gaping patch of sky where there should have been a canyon wall of buildings. The WTC site, more than 15 blocks away, was closed off with barriers guarded by police officers.

There were no strangers on the streets. Locals and out-of-towners alike gathered at the barrier, pulled by a morbid dread and something else, hard to put a finger on. It was far from a carnival atmosphere, but it wasn’t entirely somber. People chatted — where ‘ya from? — talked up the cop and snapped photos of the hole in the heart of the city. We were showing New York some love, and New Yorkers were tossing it right back.

We were together, mourning the dead, observing our nation’s monumental loss. We also were celebrating our strength. New York’s resilience was evident on city streets, where people walked (apparently) fearlessly, in the shops and cafes, where they ate and milled about as usual, and in the subway, where an elderly Chinese man played on a stringed instrument at rush hour, the music echoing sweetly in the cement cavern.

Here’s a picture of the Statue of Liberty, which was closed with the heightened security. The boardwalk where the ferry to the monument boards was another impromptu gathering place in the wake of 9/11. The statue seemed so far away, but as we stood watching the sun set, we struck up conversations with people we might never have otherwise.