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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Michigan, 1945-68

Protests and threats against King during his Michigan visits were common. During the “Walk to Freedom” down Woodward Avenue on June 23, 1963, three policemen had to subdue an unidentified white man who single-handedly attempted to stop the King-led march. Older Detroiters will recognize the now-closed Sanders confectionary at extreme left and the now-demolished J. L. Hudson’s department store at right. (CORBIS PHOTO)

An Illustrated Timeline
Compiled by Paul Lee
Special to the Michigan Citizen

Pt. IV of IV

This week, The Michigan Citizen presents the conclusion of historical features writer Paul Lee’s addendum to his 2007 illustrated timeline of the Michigan visits of Dr. Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, which we are publishing in celebration of Dr. King’s 81st birthday.

This final part pays particular attention to how the Detroit FBI field office monitored Dr. King’s Michigan visits, including to Lansing, mostly using local police departments and informers, which reflected the obsession with Dr. King of the famously anti-black FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover.

The FBI’s monitoring of his 1968 visit to Grosse Pointe Farms can be found in Pt. II of the timeline, published January 21st-January 27th, 2007, p. A12.

Mr. Lee again solicits references to any additional Michigan visits by the Kings before Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, as well as any corrections of this or any of the previous installments. Please send them to Paul Lee at beistorage17@yahoo.com

— Ed.

1966

March 4 Detroit Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent (SA) John E. King drafts an airmail telegram (airtel) for his Special Agent in Charge (SAC), or field office head, to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, enclosing a one-page letterhead memorandum (LHM) regarding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

(Hoover is notorious for his hostility toward African Americans in general and his hatred of King in particular.)

According to the LHM, an FBI source, whose name was withheld from the document released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), advises that King is “scheduled to be one of the featured Lenten speakers at Central [United] Methodist Church,” 23 East Adams at Woodward Avenue, overlooking Grand Circus Park, “at the noon services on March 14 and 15, 1966.”

(King began annually addressing the church’s noon Lenten services in 1958 and would continue to do so until shortly before his 1968 assassination; see below.)

“Detroit [FBI office] will follow and report any pertinent activities on the part of Subject [King] while in Detroit and will furnish same in form suitable for dissemination” to other government agencies, the airtel states.

March 8 The Michigan House of Representatives, with the Senate concurring, adopts House Concurrent Resolution No. 236, offered by black Detroit Representatives David S. Holmes, Jr., and James Bradley on March 2.

The resolution officially “welcome[s]” King, who is to speak at Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, the following day, to the state as “one of the world’s foremost crusaders for human rights and civil liberties,” who has “won the respect and admiration of all cognizant persons of good will.”

The legislature moves that “a copy of this welcome be presented” to King “as a token of the esteem” of the legislature and the people of Michigan.

Detroit FBI SA King drafts an airtel for his SAC to Director Hoover, enclosing a three-page LHM on King’s appearance at MSU. The activities of King, the airtel advises, “will be reported in form suitable dissemination.”

March 9 At 1:55 p.m., an urgent teletype is received at FBI headquarters, Washington, D.C., from the Chicago field office, advising that King is “to depart Chicago on p.m. [afternoon] today for speaking engagement at East Lansing, Michigan, possibly at Michigan State University.”

The Detroit FBI office is directed to “handle [surveillance] in accordance with current bureau instructions re King.”

At 2:35 p.m., King arrives by private plane at Lansing Capitol City Airport (now Capital Region International Airport) with his traveling aide Bernard Lee and, reportedly, his secretary, Dora McDonald. He is met by campus minister John S. Duley, who, along with education professor Robert L. Green, invited King to MSU.

At 4:00 p.m., King addresses an estimated 2,000 persons in the MSU Auditorium, 149 Auditorium Road. According to news reports, the audience is half the size of the one that attended King’s first MSU speech on Feb. 11, 1965 — perhaps at least partly reflective of the recent shift in white student interest from civil rights to the U.S.’s undeclared, increasingly costly war in Vietnam.

King’s lecture is sponsored by the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU), the undergraduate student government, as a fund-raiser for the Student Tutorial Education Project (STEP), conceived by Duley and Green (on leave to work for SCLC) and launched during King’s previous visit.

STEP’s student-administered Summer Study Skills Institute, conducted by students, faculty and area volunteers, is a remedial instruction and enrichment program for educationally deprived, incoming freshmen at Rust College, a historically black institution at Holly Springs, Miss.

According to a report in the black-owned Chicago Defender, King, who temporarily moved to Chicago in February to set up a pilot project to address the endemic employment, housing and social problems in northern cities, describes the housing developments along the Windy City’s South State Street, including the Stateway Gardens and Robert Taylor homes, as a “Berlin Wall situation like nothing I’ve seen before.”

Most of the residents of these projects, King notes, are black and poor. He suggests an “experiment in [racial] integration” that would see housing for black people built in predominantly white suburbs.

His “Chicago Plan” is focused on forming “a sort of union to end slums” in that city. The object, King says, is to form a “power base from which to begin collective bargaining with city officials.”

According to an Associated Press (AP) report, King warns about the possibility of urban uprisings at Chicago and other cities, such as those that characterized the “long, hot summers” since 1964.

“I think almost any major northern city can explode if measures are not taken to remove the conditions which led to the seething desperation that brought Watts into being,” King says, referring to the uprising in this mostly-black southern Los Angeles neighborhood from Aug. 11-15, 1965, the worst in U. S. history up to that point.

Watts, King says, was a case of black people “hurting themselves to hurt others in a desperate search for justice.”

According to an FBI informer, King reveals that, two months before Watts exploded, he warned the mayor of Los Angeles (Samuel W. Yorty) that he “would have trouble” in Watts “if something was not done.”

Among the cities possibly in danger of “explosive violence,” King advises, according to AP, are Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

King says that he expects nonviolent protests would be effective in the North, too.

New legislation is needed to give black Americans “a fair chance” in the North, he says, according to the Defender report. They must obtain economic security.

He suggests legislation raising the minimum wage, extending it to cover all workers, initiation of massive public works programs and greater training and education projects, “undergirded by a sort of guarantee of a minimum annual wage” or income.

He also suggests that federal funds be cut off where there is discrimination in housing and that de facto school segregation be ended by busing black students to white schools, if necessary.

Black people may be elected to top posts in state and local governments in a very short time, King predicts. Citing the success of voter-registration drives, he declares, “I am sure this can, and will, result in Negroes being elected to very responsible positions.”

“With a coalition of Negro and white voters, a qualified Negro can be elected to the U.S. Senate, and a Negro can be elected mayor of a large northern city,” he says.

At a short news conference following his speech, King names Edward W. Brooke III, the Republican attorney general of Massachusetts, as an example of an African American with both the qualifications and the apparent vote-getting power to become a U.S. senator.

(In November 1966, Brooke became the first African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote and the first black American elected to that body since the 19th century.)

At 5:40 p.m., King’s flight departs for Chicago.

March 10 Detroit FBI SA King drafts an airtel for his SAC to Director Hoover, enclosing a two-page LHM on King’s MSU visit.

According to the LHM, a “confidential” FBI source, “who has requested his identity be protected” (probably a MSU employee thinking he was doing his patriotic duty), advised the FBI of the time of King’s arrival; his mode of transportation; who accompanied and met him; the approximate size of his audience; the contents of his speech; the sponsor; and the time of King’s departure.

“The source stated no incidents occurred and the crowd dispersed in a peaceful and orderly manner after King’s appearance,” the memo concludes.

March 14 According to an FBI source, King is scheduled to preach at a noon Lenten service, Central United Church of Christ, but no documentation has been found to support this.

March 15 King preaches on “A Knock At Midnight,” one of his favorite, most-delivered sermons, at noon Lenten service, Central United Methodist Church, sponsored by the Metropolitan Detroit Council of Churches (now the Metropolitan Christian Council).

King either holds a news conference covered by or grants an interview with the Detroit Free Press. King says he is sure that Detroit has racial problems to correct, but he doesn’t foresee any racial trouble for the city in the coming summer.

“Our organization isn’t going to be here” and he hasn’t discussed Detroit’s civil-rights problems with its leaders in recent months. “Our recent experience has been in Chicago and that is where we will be this summer,” he advises.

“We’re going to be in all areas, and we will have demonstrations. SCLC will “wage war” on all fronts of racial segregation, including housing, education and unemployment.

“From our experience in Chicago we hope to develop guidelines for other cities,” King says.

(The following summer, on July 23, 1967, several predominantly black Detroit communities erupted into a five-day uprising, which surpassed the Watts rebellion in its destructiveness.)

March 16 Detroit FBI SA King drafts an airtel for his SAC to Director Hoover, enclosing a LHM reprinting the text of the Detroit Free Press report, “King Sees Calm Detroit Summer,” published that morning.

It appears that the Detroit FBI office did not attempt to cover King’s Central United Methodist Church appearances.

June 3 Detroit FBI SA Thomas P. Druken drafts an airtel for his SAC to Director Hoover, enclosing a two-page LHM, reporting information supplied to Druken by Detective McGraw, apparently of the Detroit Police Department.

According to the LHM, on May 26, McGraw advised Druken that “a Freedom Day Rally would be held at Cobo Hall on June 19, 1966, with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and UAW [United Auto Workers] President Walter P. Reuther as the principal speakers. … The rally is being coordinated by Nelson Jack Edwards and Horace Sheffield, local UAW officials.

“Detective Mc Graw [sic] advised that in order to handle the expected overflow of persons in attendance, a public address system is going to be installed at Cobo Hall,” the LHM noted.

McGraw advised that “the purpose of the rally is to aid the oppressed and dispossessed sharecroppers of Mississippi and Alabama, who were allegedly deprived of their property because they dared to register to vote,” the LHM stated. King “is scheduled to arrive in the Detroit area at 12 noon on June 19, 1966, and stay at the Ponchartrain Hotel” (now the Detroit Riverside Hotel), 2 Washington Boulevard, directly opposite Cobo Hall

McGraw said that “elaborate preparations are being made in connection with this rally. Fliers are going to be distributed, advanced radio and television publicity will be afforded it, and in the near future canisters will be distributed throughout the local department stores in the Detroit area to solicit funds to support the rally.

“In addition, an admission charge of $1.00 is the fee for admittance to Cobo Hall on the day of the rally, which is scheduled to be held from 3:30 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.

June 17 “[A]n anonymous telephone call was received by the Detroit [FBI] Office” on that date, according to a LHM enclosed in an airtel from Detroit SA King for his SAC to Director Hoover on June 20.

“The anonymous telephone call was made by an unknown male who advised that he is an employee of the Cadillac Motor Company, Division of General Motors, Plant #1, Clark and Michigan Avenue, Detroit.

“He advised that elements of the Ku Klux Klan who are employees of Cadillac Plant #1 intend to assassinate” King at the Cobo Hall rally.

“The anonymous caller stated that he heard the Grand Dragon of the Klan, an employee of Cadillac Plant #1, is possibly involved in this reported assassination. The anonymous caller advised that the Klan assassination is to take place at Cobo Hall, Detroit, but exact plans are unknown to him.”

A Michigan source, whose name was withheld from released by the FOIA, identified a suspect and “Detroit Police and Michigan State Police [were] advised” and the former is “planning surveillance” of him, according to an “Informative Note” from the Domestic Intelligence Division at FBI headquarters to Associate Director Clyde Tolson, the bureau’s number-two and Hoover’s closest confidant, on June 18.

Additionally, according to the note, the “Civil Rights Division, Department [of Justice], [was] advised and requested we maintain contact with local police authorities to determine what is being done in connection with anonymous report.”

June 19 King addresses an overflow crowd estimated at between 12,000-15,000 persons at a “Freedom Rally,” Exhibition Hall B, Cobo Hall, 1 Washington Boulevard, Detroit.

According to The Chicago Defender, the rally is designed to “show all-out support by concerned Michigan people for the crucial fight for freedom throughout the south” by raising $100,000 to aid the voter-registration drives at Alabama and Mississippi, where most African Americans are denied the right to vote by law, custom and, if necessary, violence.

To attend the rally, King left the “March Against Fear” through Mississippi, began by James H. Meredith on June 5 and continued by SCLC and the militant Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) after a white bigot shot Meredith.

The rally also commemorates the third anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers, NAACP field secretary, by a white racist at Jackson, Miss., on June 12, 1963.

Aside from King, the rally is addressed by Evers’s brother Charles, who succeeded Medgar in his post; Aaron Henry, Mississippi NAACP president; and UAW President Walter P. Reuther.

The rally is sponsored by Target Freedom, an ad hoc organization of some 30 civic, labor and religious groups throughout the state, including the Archbishop’s Committee on Human Relations, Booker T. Washington Business Association, Community Improvement Association of Block Clubs, Cotillion Club, Council of Baptist Pastors, Detroit Council for Political Education, Detroit Urban League, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and Metropolitan Detroit Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Sponsors also include the Metropolitan Detroit Labor and Community Association, Michigan Lowndes County [Alabama] Christian Movement for Human Rights, Michigan Association of Elks, NAACP, Nurses and Friends Civic Association, Trade Union Leadership Council, 1st, 13th, 15th and 16th Democratic Congressional District Organizations, UAW and United Steelworkers of America.

In the wake of the recent calls for “Black Power,” or black self-determination, and self-defense — armed, if necessary — by militant SNCC chairman Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture), King urges African Americans to reject violence and goals of “black supremacy” in the civil-rights movement, according to an AP report.

“I don’t care if every Negro in the United States comes down and urges using violence,” he declares, “mine will still be the last voice to cry against it.”

“I am not a consensus leader,” he adds, “and I will not turn to violence.”

While rejecting the term Black Power, King declares that the “powerlessness of the Mississippi Negro must be transformed into economic and political power,” according to a United Press International (UPI) report. King tells the cheering crowd that the “March Against Fear” would double the number of registered black Mississippi voters within the next four months.

The new voters, King says, would not seek power on their own, but would try to “get into the mainstream of the two-party system” — an indirect reference to the SNCC-created Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) at Alabama, better known as the Black Panther Party, which seeks to mobilize African Americans for independent political action.

King says that the racial “problems in the North have worsened in many areas” while progress is being made in the South.

“In the North, the problems are more subtle, the resistance more covert,” King says. “In the economic areas, the financial plight of the northern Negro is getting worse. The same is true in housing.”

In his speech, Reuther declares, “I’ve never considered Mississippi a part of America, and we must struggle to make it a part.

At 8:08 p.m., an urgent teletype is received at FBI headquarters from the Detroit office, advising that King “was present at rally and approximately ten thousand people attended rally. No incidents [of violence] and rally was conducted in orderly fashion.

“LHM follows.”

June 20 King departs “the Detroit area at approximately 9:00 a.m.,” “Identity of the airlines and the destination … unknown,” according to an airtel drafted by SA King for his SAC, enclosing a two-page LHM, to Director Hoover later that day.

In the airtel, SA King reports that a source, whose name was withheld from release under the FOIA, but is probably a police detective, advised that King, “while in the Detroit area in connection with his appearance here was evasive in furnishing the Detroit PD [Police Department] with his itinerary and location of his accommodations. [The source] described KING’s attitude as most uncooperative in assisting the Detroit PD in their attempt to afford him maximum protection.”

“Reportedly 15,000 persons were in attendance at the [Cobo Hall] rally,” SA King advises in the LHM, apparently based on information supplied by Detective McGraw. This is 5,000 persons higher than the original estimate sent to FBI headquarters.

Most of the information sent to FBI headquarters by SA King, under the “caption” or title of the “Freedom Day Rally,” is also reported in an airtel and one-page LHM by SA Druken, under the double-caption of King and SCLC.

Because Hoover considered King a danger to “national security,” all of SA King’s and SA Druken’s communications on King’s appearance at the Cobo Hall rally and the threat against his life were furnished to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Chicago; the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), U.S. Air Force, Detroit; and the U. S. Attorney, Detroit.

1967

First week of May The Rev. Cornell E. Talley, pastor of New Light Baptist Church, 5240 West Chicago, Detroit, advises The New Pittsburgh Courier that he and his church would no longer support King and the SCLC because of King’s opposition to the U.S.’s undeclared war in Vietnam.

King took his firmest stand against this conflict in a speech titled “Beyond Vietnam” at the historic Riverside Church, New York City, on April 4 and in remarks during a massive demonstration at the United Nations Plaza on April 15.

Talley has been “one of the strongest and most consistent supporters” of King since the latter led the boycott of racially segregated buses at Montgomery, Ala., in 1955-56, when Tally was pastor of Central Baptist Church, the largest black church at Pittsburgh, Pa.

According to Talley, “We gave SCLC more than a total of $10,000” before Talley’s 1962 move to Detroit. “Since that time New Light Baptist … has given more than $3000 to SCLC” and pledged it “would give more than $100 per month.”

However, after King’s recent antiwar activities, “I took it up with the board of my church … and they believe as I do. They backed me in my opinion.”

“I am against the war and would like to see it banned from the face of the earth,” Talley says. “But after all, we are Americans and we are engaged in a war over there in Vietnam. The entire future of America is committed to winning that war. I, myself, have a son, George, who is busy fighting over there.”

“These demonstrations against the War in Vietnam in which Dr. King takes part do not help our nation’s cause,” Talley says. However, “I may support SCLC’s civil rights fight” if King ceases his participation in “anti-Vietnam War demonstrations.”

“I can’t say what others are going to do,” Talley says when asked if other ministers throughout the country will also withdraw support from King and SCLC, “but it is highly possible that there are many who feel just as I do and as my church feels.”

Aug. 10 King speaks on “Transforming a Neighborhood into a Brotherhood” at the annual convention of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, Calif.

KQED-TV broadcasts King’s address and the San Francisco FBI office records and transcribes it, submitting the text to FBI headquarters in a LHM on Aug. 31, 1967.

King uses the occasion to respond to the unprecedented firestorm of criticism of his anti-Vietnam conflict stand by mainstream civil-rights leaders, government officials, news media organizations and religious leaders like the Rev. Talley.

“We’ve increased the possibilities of the Third World War. We’ve increased the possibilities of the annihilation of the whole human race. These are things that we must admit. If we continue to flirt unhesitatingly with war, our earthly habitat will be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine. So I must continue to speak against the war in Vietnam.

“There are those who have said to me, ‘Why are you taking a stand against the war? You’re a civil-rights leader. You shouldn’t be on this. You’re out of your field.’

Long before I was a civil-rights speaker, I was a preacher of the Gospel. When I was ordained to the Christian ministry … I took a commission to bring the insights of our Christian heritage to bear on the evils of our day.

“The other thing, my friends, is the fact that I’ve worked [too] hard now against segregation in public accommodations to end up at this point segregating my moral concern. … [Applause] For I know that justice is indivisible, that there are some civil-rights leaders who are afraid, or refuse to take a stand. That’s their business. …

“The other thing I know, it would be rather absurd for me to work passionately and unrelentingly for integrated schools and not be concerned about the survival of the world in which to integrate.

“There are those who go on to say beyond that, ‘Aren’t you going to hurt your leadership?’ Somebody said to me not long ago, “People have respected you, and don’t you feel you’re going to lose that and, in order to maintain that respect, don’t you think you’ll have to start talking more in terms of the policy of our nation in Vietnam?’

“I looked into his eyes and said, ‘Sir, I’m sorry you don’t know me. I’m not a consensus leader. I don’t determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I don’t determine what is wrong by roaming around taking a Gallup poll of the majority opinion.’ …

“I take the stand because I love America. I’m not engaged in a hate-America campaign. I love this great nation. I see its marvelous possibilities for the whole world. I’m disappointed with America, but I remember there can be no great disappointment where there is no great love.”

1968

March 15 King preaches on “The Meaning of Hope,” noon Lenten service, Central United Methodist Church, sponsored by the Metropolitan Detroit Council of Churches.

King stays in a suite of rooms at the Statler Hilton Hotel at Grand Circus Park, Detroit, on the opposite side of Woodward Avenue from the church.

King begins his 35-minute sermon — a variation of one he delivered at his first pastorate, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church at Montgomery, Ala., on Dec. 10, 1967 — by explaining why he missed the March 14 Lenten service.

“I always look forward to coming with great and eager anticipation. And I do want to apologize for not being here yesterday.

“When I accepted the invitation, it was my full intent to be here, but some unexpected new demands and responsibilities came into being which made it necessary for me to make a request of the council, and that was to be here only one day instead of two days. And I could assure you that I did that only because I found it absolutely necessary for the moment.”

King’s “new demands and responsibilities” is apparently an indirect reference to his commitment to speak the night before at Grosse Pointe High School (now Grosse Pointe South) in the mostly-white Grosse Pointe Farms suburb, sponsored by the Grosse Pointe Human Relations Council (GPHRC).

King addressed nearly 3,000 persons, mostly white, on “The Other America.” The meeting was picketed and disrupted by 150-200 white protesters led by Detroit parks employee Donald Lobsinger, leader of the right-wing Breakthrough group, which objected to King on a number of grounds, including his anti-Vietnam conflict stand (see Pt. II of this timeline, published in The Michigan Citizen, January 21st-January 27th, 2007, p. A12).

The heckling stung King, already prone to depression and plagued by the increasingly heavy burdens of leadership in uncertain times and nagging self-doubts.

“I never met such a high level of organized opposition in a public meeting before,” King told a news conference after his talk, according to an AP report. Indeed, the experience seems to have fed into King’s lifelong streak of melancholy, which appears to have bled into his sermon the next day.

At Central, King might have been reading, or recalling, his sermon on hope, but it appears that his experience at Grosse Pointe Farms gave it an unexpected freshness.

King’s comments about Vietnam are brief, but unusually personal and pointed:

“Many of us have a deep longing and a deep hope for peace. It isn’t here. We look today and see our nation fighting a senseless, cruel, unjust, ill-considered war in Vietnam and many of us are appalled and outraged. We wonder how our nation could have made such a sinful error, and continues the error, continues the sin, day in and day out, merely to save face.”

“When one loses hope,” he says, perhaps ministering to himself as much as to his audience, “rational structures break down. This is why hope is always necessary for life. It is one of the basic structures … for an adequate life.”

In developing his theme, King seven times raises the specter of suicide, figuratively and literally, mostly by leaping to one’s death.

He rhetorically asks what would happen if one were to “jump off” the top one of the highest buildings in Detroit — say, the Statler Hilton or the Pontchartrain. “You’re gonna hit the bottom, you’re gonna break your neck and break your body and everything else.”

“The confusion in the world today,” King says at another point, “is that men will not abide by the law of love and the law of justice, and everywhere we see modern man engaging in the process of suicide because he’s jumped off the pinnacle of morality and smashes things up, every time.

He recalls reading about a young man who killed himself by jumping off the Henley Bridge at Knoxville, Tenn., after a “disappointed love affair.”

He gives thanks that the German-English composer George Frideric Händel, the Austrian composer Franz Peter Schubert and “our foreparents in the days of slavery didn’t jump” because each, in times of great despair, produced inspired music, including The Messiah, Ave Maria and the Negro spirituals, America’s “most original and beautiful music.”

Finally, he closes by sharing a “sad story” about a young Harlem mother of seven who took her life while waiting on “a little [government] check,” held up by a snowstorm. Tragically, “the check came the next morning.”

King’s audience does not know that, according to several of his biographers, he twice attempted suicide when he was 12 years old by leaping from a second-story window — first, when he mistakenly thought that his beloved maternal grandmother had died, and again after she had, in fact, passed.

Hope, to King, is “medicinal,” a prescription to treat the disease of “give-up-itits” — which he is in constant battle against.

“…what I’m saying today is that hope is always based on a refusal to give up. It’s a kind of saying to oneself, ‘I’m going on in spite of.’ It’s what the existential philosophers would call ‘the courage to be.’ And if you have that, you can move on.”

Near the end of his sermon, King says:

“And I would urge you, in my conclusion, to keep going, don’t give up. The days ahead are going to be difficult. As we struggle for peace and as we struggle for brotherhood, we’re going to face some darker nights. And many of us engaged in the struggle are going to face even darker nights.
“But, ultimately, hope means that you can still sing ‘We Shall Overcome’ and you don’t give up, but you go on with that radiant hope which keeps you going in spite of.”

King was assassinated at Memphis, Tenn., three weeks later, on April 4, 1968.

This installment could not have been completed without the prompt, expert and generous assistance of Kimberly D. Waldman, Associated Press Images; Laurel Mitchell and Travis Snyder, Carnegie Museum of Arts, Pittsburgh; Grace and Ray Bazmore and Jim Bull, Central United Methodist Church, Detroit; Necole Hoskins, Marc Rampulla, Sarah Scott and Andy Van Der Raadt, Corbis Images; writer Jack Kresnak; Sarah Roberts, Michigan State University (MSU) Archives & Historical Collections; Terrie Wilson, MSU Fine Arts Library; and Elizabeth Clemens, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, Detroit.

Additional indispensable encouragement and assistance was provided by Sala Andaiye (Lula Adams), Peter Goldman, Dr. Karl D. Gregory, Teresa Kelly, H.R. Lewis, Shar McLeod, Karamo Omari (Ronald Hewitt), Irene Smith and Kristin Cleage Williams.

(Copyright © 2010 by Paul Lee)

 

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