Where were you on April 4, 1968, when news of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. reached you? Having dinner, perhaps, as I was, and watching TV, when the screen showed the ominous “Special Report” standby signaling that some event had occurred that might alter our lives.
This one did. Dr. King had been shot in Memphis, Tenn., while leaning on the balcony of his motel and talking to a friend. We learned later that he had been shot by James Earl Ray, a man with a substantial criminal record.
Where were you when you first heard anything about Dr. King? That probably occurred in the mid-1950s. Shortly after Dr. King accepted the call of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., in September 1954, Rosa Parks decided her tired feet needn’t carry her to the back of the bus. Parks’ arrest for violating the city’s segregation ordinance launched the black community’s quest for recognition of their civil rights.
Dr. King and the Rev. Ralph Abernethy called for a one-day boycott of the bus line, a nonviolent way to protest injustice shown toward blacks over many years, but the boycott lasted 382 days.(...more)