19 May 2010

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

[As I "labored" today, I realized that Dr. King was truly a wise, wise man. I was struck by how telling his speeches and other communications were - not just of those times, but of what was to come. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to intimately examine so many primary sources that are of the degree of historical significance that, before - as I mentioned with the Free Speech Movement and Berkeley - they hardly seemed real.]

We started work at the King Institute (formally the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute) at Stanford University today! I LOVE IT (there seems to be a theme developing on this trip...)

Our boss, Tenisha Armstrong, is very organized. She was waiting for us this morning with filled informational folders, bagels and cream cheese, and staff introductions. After a quick introduction, breakfast, and hello with the employees of the Institute, we went over our individualized schedules, and training commenced.

Somehow, though I was on the original list, I didn't make it onto the record of students working today...or ever, really. But never fear! That just gave me a free pass to more flexible, personalized, more interesting jobs. For instance, instead of "fact checking" or "newspaper" today, I proofread and transcribed! Both of these were tasks that I adored - the proofreading due to my closet (well, I guess not so much anymore) love of all things grammar, never mind that fact that I was privy to such confidential information as will be published in subsequent volumes; and the transcribing because I was literally looking at some of King's typed speeches and then typing them, errors and all, on Word so that they could be entered into the database. COOL, eh?? ALSO COOL: when we came back from lunch, we were greeted with a surprise: the chance to meet Dorothy Cotton, Civil Rights Activist and Friend of Dr. King! (I just gave her that title myself.) We were lucky enough to hear a brief introduction and were able to ask her a few questions before she had to go. I only wish that we had more time with her - (and, to switch gears, I hope that Charles Townes - in his office at Berkeley - is next!)

Other than our lunch break, we worked straight from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. - a bit more intense than our 4-hour Berkeley work days, to say the least. The type of work is also very different, though - as Dr. O'Rourke said the other night, we are getting to see the two extremes of the continuum of "preserving and providing the public access to the rhetoric of social activism" - did you catch our course title in there? Ah, yes, now it all makes sense! Aha! So, on one hand, we have an immeasurable amount of incredible raw material at our fingertips in the form of as-of-yet-unrestored (and therefore unplayable) reels of tape; on the other hand, we have volumes upon volumes of organized information ready to be released to the world - about six volumes, currently, to be exact. (The Institute is putting its finishing touches on the next volume of the Paper Project; we are helping with that as well as researching for other future publications.)

So, always willing to take a break for social activism's sake, Ali, Katie, Michael, Lyndsay, and I extended our lunch break a bit and ventured to the law school to hear a panel discussion on Arizona S. B. 1070. It was very one-sided, but still, some good points were made. Also, it was nice to get to see a bit of campus, though we saw more at the end of the day, at which point we headed to the bookstore on the main part of campus.

The above-mentioned five plus Megan decided to stay in Palo Alto for the evening to attend a Mere Christianity Forum-esque gathering with fellowship and free food that Katie had read about on her iStanford iPhone app. It turned out to be more of a dinner and Bible study than anything, but it was really nice to get to connect with some Stanford students and other members of the community - not to mention the food was delicious, and we brought some back with us!

After missing the train by about 2 minutes due to our inability to find a bus stop - oh, the joys of public transit! - Megan and I created a train station workout this evening before Mallory and I engaged in some intense conversation all the way home - an hour later than we had anticipated, which caused me to miss "Glee," but oh, well, life goes on...and so does Hulu. ANYWAY, we made it here eventually, and now, I am tired! Goodnight!

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