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My name is Audrey, I live in modern day New York, New York. I am 13 years old and live with a single mom. My mom and I go to Broadway plays every Friday. There are always a lot of people around. When we first moved here it was hard to navigate the city because it is so densely populated. Every now and then I see a famous person. Last week I saw a famous actor and got their autograph! It was very exciting. On Sundays we go to church and sing songs. On Saturdays we have a picnic. Fridays are when we have family dinner.
It is February, so it is Black History Month. My teacher, Mr. Brown pointed at the smart board and told the class we would study a leader in the Civil Rights movement. Bobby asked, “Will it be for a grade and if so, how much is it worth?”
Mr. Brown, annoyed, answered saying, “Yes, it is for a grade and it is 25% of your grade,”. Everyone groaned. “Any more questions”, he asked.
I raised my hand. “Yes, Ms. Audrey.”.
“Is there extra credit?”, I asked.
“If you create a way to connect it to present times.”
I knew that I had to get extra credit, since I am a straight A student.
When I got home I opened my computer and started to research different historical leaders. I found Dr. King, Malcolm X, and the Little Rock 9. They all looked so cool. How could I choose? I thought.
My mom came home from work late that evening, I told her about my project from school and asked her if she had a preference. She told me to choose someone who I could relate to. I thought about that a lot. That night I had a dream about each person my project could be about. My first dream was about Dr. King. I dreamt about him leading marches, being a reverend, and a wonderful leader. His tactic was to have a peaceful nonviolent protest. My second dream was about Malcom X. He was also a great leader, but in contrast he believed in using violence. Last but not least, I thought about how scared the 9 kids were during the integration of Central High. Right before I woke up it felt like I was there during Malcom X and Dr.King’s asasanation. Dr. King was in Memphis, TN and he was staying at Lorraine Motel. When he walked outside he started talking and then he got shot. That is how Dr. King died. Malcolm X was in New York. He was talking to a group of people and before he could finish he got shot and died.
When I woke up I was drenched in sweat from head to toe. My mom looked at me worriedly, “Are you okay?” she asked.
“I’m fine,” I lied.
I didn’t think that she would understand what was going on. I also didn’t think that she would believe me when I told her that I felt like I was really there. I still had not chosen someone to study. “Well then let’s get ready for school,” said my mom. She still looked worried.
“Okay!”, I said, still trying to figure out if I was dreaming.
“Call me if you need anything!”
“I am fine mom, love you!”
And with that she was off to work. As I walked to my class I asked some people who they decided to study. Most people said Dr.King. I feel that Dr. King was the easiest person to do because he is very well known. Each year we would study him and learn about how he was very engaged in the Civil Rights Movement. We learned that he went to prison and wrote some amazing poetry. During my research I learned that Malcom X had a hatred towards different people, but after he went to prison he realized that every person is different and there was no reason for him to hate them. He changed his religion and his name. I thought that it was cool how he changed for the better, so I chose Malcom X.
When school was over I rushed home and couldn’t wait to tell my mom who I had chosen. Since I had a person I sat down at my computer and started to research. To start my research I went to Google. Then I typed in Malcom X. I was amazed to see black man with almost the same hair color as me. This was a sign that I had made the right decision. I told my mom right away when she got home.
“Hey Mom, guess who I chose for my school project?”
“Great choice!” she said with excitement.
That night I was nervous to go to sleep. I thought about what happened last night when I went to bed. Once I went to sleep I felt okay and content about my dreams.
I had a dream that Malcom X talked about his hatred. He talked about what formed that hatred and how he changed. In my dream he talked about his life and how prison actually helped him be somewhat of a better person. It was weird because I felt like I was there with him in the dream.
Malcolm X was in a suit and in a room with a lot of people that he worked with for the civil Rights Movement. It was cold in Detroit. Yet, somehow I didn't freeze. There are a lot of buildings like this in New York.
Malcolm X talked about what fueled him to have marches for change. He seems very angry. He talked about how in order to get freedom, they would have to be able to possess weapons and defend themself at any means possible. He also talked about how when he died that he would want to make a great impact on the nation. One thing that stood out to me was he talked about how he would like to live in a world where everyone was treated equally. It was cool to be in that place and knowing what he wanted did happen eventually. I wondered if I should tell him that some of his dreams came true. That would alter history. I thought. I decided not to. I was amazed at his confidence and decided to try to go up to him. I didn’t know what to expect. When he sat down, I was already halfway there. Finally I saw him. It was so cool to meet a legend in history. I felt weird because I did not have the same skin color as him.
“Hello, young girl,”, said Malcom X
I was speechless. “How can I help you and what is your name?”, he asked, softly.
“My name is Audrey and we have the same hair color!”, I said excitedly. I could hardly believe it, I was talking to the REAL Malcom X. When I mentioned that we had the same hair color he seemed to calm down. She’s just a little girl. She has no intention to harm me despite the color of her skin. He thought. I pulled out a napkin I had in my pocket and asked,”May I have your autograph?”
“Sure,” and he signed the piece of paper with a pen. Then he gave it back to me.
We hugged for what seemed like forever and then I said, “Thank you, Malcolm X,...Thank you” I just couldn’t contain myself. I was so happy. I would never use or throw that napkin away. I would always cherish it. All of a sudden he started to fade.”Wait...wait...wait...wait.” and then he was gone.
When I woke up I felt good. I knew how I was going to do my school project and then I saw the autographed napkin from Malcolm X. I did not understand how this was possible. I thought that what I had was just a dream. It felt real, but I thought it was not. I ran into my mom’s room and showed her the napkin with Malcom X’s signature. She didn’t understand how it could be real. She believed me when I told her about my dream - I love this about my mom. I thought about taking the napkin to school but I was worried that it would get torn.
The next day, I finished out my school project on the Civil Rights leader. I decided to write a paper about Malcom X. I almost included the part about my dream, but I realized that the class would think that I was crazy. When I got to Mr. Brown’s class, he asked the class: “Who would like to go first?” No one raised their hand.
“Audrey, you’re going first.”, said Mr. Brown
I was ready, nervous, but ready. I walked up to the front of the class and started to present my paper.
“Malcom X was an interesting man…” At the end of my paper the class clapped loudly. I was impressed. I didn’t think that it would go that well. After I sat down, There were about 20 more reports about Dr. King. One student named Bobby, actually copied and pasted his whole report from Wikipedia! I was very proud of my work and thought that most of the other people did pretty good too, Even if they were all about the same person. I asked my teacher what grade I received and he said an A+. He said, “I liked how you talked about present day racism and how we could stop it.” I was very happy to hear this news.
When my mom came home it was late. I told her about my grade on the paper. She was very excited. I knew that I would get an “A”, but it was nice to see it in writing.