This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor.
Growing up in an all white town south of Chicago in the fifties and sixties, the civil rights movement was lost on me.
Jim Crow ruled south of the Mason-Dixon Line but he had plenty of friends up north.
As best I remember, when the first black family moved into my town they were greeted by a bomb. Seems hard to believe now, but it wasn't so surprising back then. It was a time when people were proud of their prejudices. Racial epithets flowed freely from the mouths of church-going men and women.
Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life in the non-violent struggle against hatred. His message was met with anger and scorn, but eventually it was heard. It was listened to because he had truth on his side. And justice would follow.
Our kids don't know enough about King, about those times not so many years ago. Let them take their day off from school, but let us teach them what they should know.
By Harry Smith
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.