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Civil Rights trivia from my Martini Luther King party

That’s right. I said Martini Luther King. It’s a party I’ve thrown nearly every year for more than a decade, and the full official title is: The Fabulous, Slightly Blasphemous Martini Luther King Party.

I justify these drunken atrocities by forcing my guests to participate in Civil Rights Movement trivia.

Here are this year’s questions, along with the answers at the bottom. Good luck!

  1. Who is the woman pictured above?
  2. What do that woman, my mother, and Coretta Scott King have in common?
  3. What year did that woman refuse to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery?
    1. 1945
    2. 1955
    3. 1966
  4. How old would Martin Luther King Jr. be if he’d survived?
  5. True or False: MLK’s mother was also shot to death by an assassin?
  6. What place was MLK referring to when he said: “I have never in my life seen such hate … not in Mississippi or Alabama.”
  7. What day is MLK’s actual birthday?


  1. Rosa Parks
  2. They were all born in Alabama.
  3. b. 1955
  4. 91 years old
  5. True. Alberta King was shot and killed on June 30, 1974, as she played the organ for morning service in the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta by a 21-year-old who said he believed black Christians were leading Black people astray.
  6. Chicago
  7. January 15, 1929

Thanks for playing!

Photo credit: Ebony Magazine

Lessons and Shit

Do the things that make you feel the most alive

My big brother, Aaron Hawkins, would have turned 50 today.

Just typing that sentence hurt like hell, and rather than dwell on the bone-crushing sadness of his not being here, of being so much older than he got to be, I’m refocusing my efforts to do more of the things that make me feel most alive, the most Karen (as Gretchen Rubin would say).

And I’d like to encourage everyone to do the same.

That’s it.

My Most Alive list currently includes:

  • Taking photos of my favorite photographer taking photos
  • Hanging out with my cats
  • Watching HGTV (Which Property Brother are you? I’m Drew in the streets and Jonathan in the . . . nevermind)
  • Judging the decisions made by people on HGTV (whyyy does anyone ever List It?!)
  • Catching up with my hilarious friends
  • Setting things on fire (no really)
  • Reading YA fiction
  • Supporting other feminists whenever and however I can
  • Escaping to the Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Pretending that fried potatoes are low carb if I eat them with hot sauce instead of ketchup
  • Traveling
  • Scrolling YouTube endlessly
  • Judging the decisions made by people on YouTube (WTF is a cut crease?)
  • Pretending that I’m ever going to watch that show everyone keeps telling me to watch
  • Listening to bad pop music
  • Watching OG Star Wars
  • Getting exactly 29 percent through every nonfiction book I buy before losing steam

What’s on your list?

Lessons and Shit

Things I’ve learned in the last 10 years

Grief is not a straight line; it does not have a beginning, a middle, or an end. It’s a sprawling landmine, and the only secret to successfully navigating it is to get back up no matter how many times it sends you flying into the dirt face first. 

Never, ever take anyone or anything for granted.

Be grateful for everything, even the hard shit. Especially the hard shit. The ability to be grateful for every day above ground is a gift that not everyone knows how to open.

Hard shit is also the mother of what I like to call creative resourcefulness. There are no better problem solvers in the world than people who have been through some SHIT and had to figure out how to get through it.

Sometimes people disappoint you not because they’re terrible but because they’re flawed or have limitations you can’t see.

Not everyone was raised right. 

Other people’s fear and anxiety is only your problem if you make it your problem.

Almost everything we’re taught about food is a lie. You don’t have to eat breakfast. Counting calories is a math problem without a solution. You can work out all you want but if you’re eating the wrong things, it doesn’t matter. 

Finding a good therapist is one of the most important things in the world you can ever do. 

Meditate more.

Fancy hotels are a valid love language.

Definitely pay for TSA precheck.

Thanks for reading!

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Not the one

I am not the Karen Hawkins you’re looking for


Thank you so much for writing! I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that you’ve reached Karen Hawkins. The bad news is that I’m not the Karen Hawkins you’re looking for.

You see:

I don’t write romance novels.

I don’t live in North Carolina, London, Arkansas, or Arizona.

I’m not buying or selling a home in any of those places.

I don’t teach.

I don’t coach.

I don’t have school-age children.

My non-existent school-age children, thankfully, don’t require frequent trips to the principal’s office and subsequent summons for me.

I don’t attend your church, and I won’t be choosing this Sunday’s hymns or assembling the bulletin.

I didn’t set up that costume jewelry shop account.

And while I’m sure I’d love to see Matilda the Musical in California, I won’t be able to use the tickets you emailed. 

Thank you for updating your address book accordingly.

Fist bump,
Black Karen Hawkins

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash