Noah Thomas is a 10th grader with rather interesting roots. He has a strong background of social awareness and is interested in the subject, especially because his grandparents dealt with racism and segregation of the 1940s and 50s. An important event that greatly impacted their lives was the I Have a Dream speech that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered in the late summer of 1963, attended by both his grandmother and grandfather. Noah was given the opportunity to write about his grandparent’s experience in an essay for Ms. Hillyer’s English class.
His grandmother and grandfather grew up very differently, but both had to deal with racial segregation. His grandmother, Lula Bass, had an interesting upbringing. She was mixed, but was still considered black and was treated that way, subjected to the cruel segregation laws. She told Noah that whenever she walked by a non-black school, the students would tease and make fun of her. She was passionate for change and hoped that the nation would someday be united.
Noah’s grandfather, Harold Bass, was aware that racial segregation was an issue, but didn’t take as much notice to it since everyone in his area was the same color as him. He cared about social justice, but didn’t keep it at the forefront of his mind as he didn’t see change coming for a long time.
The I Have a Dream speech was one of Noah’s grandparent’s most memorable moments. Lula was a bit more enthusiastic for the speech, whereas Harold was slightly less optimistic. They weren’t expecting there to be much of a crowd, but they were proven wrong when they realized they were among over 250,000 people. In his essay, Noah quoted his grandmother, “I have never seen that many people at one place at the same time.” To this day, it’s still one of the largest demonstrations to ever take place in the nation’s capital.
Noah’s grandparents feel they’ve learned a lot from this day. The part that stuck with Lula the most was “when [Martin Luther King] talked about wanting nothing more than equality in our country. No matter what color you are, you can be treated equally.” With this influence of equality-seeking, Noah has been interested in the subject since his middle school years and is eternally grateful for how much the country has progressed and everything he has today.