Martin Luther King Jr. Day

As we in the U.S. observe a holiday in honor of Rev. King, I recall the night I stood a few feet from him and listened in awe.

It was about June 8, 1966. James Meredith had started his solitary March Against Fear on June 5th, and had been shot and wounded by a sniper on June 6th.

Cover of I had been part of “The Movement” for some time. I had worked over holidays to help with voter registration, even been apprehended and castigated by police for trying to help people vote, but released without arrest.

When Rev. King and others continued the March Against Fear after the shooting, a few friends and I decided to join the March.

One night, there he (Rev. King) was, in the flesh, sitting on the back of a large truck. About ten of us gathered around to listen to him, as I recall.

My parents had tried to talk me out of going. They supported Rev. King, but feared for my safety. When I returned from Mississippi, I came down with a terrible flu-like illness and lost my summer job. They didn’t like that, either. But I feel so privileged that I was able to be with Rev. King that night.

P.S. I like the quote in Henry Abbott’s TrueHoop post.

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