Monday, April 4, 2011

43 Years Ago Today

It hardly seems like 43 years ago because I remember it like it was yesterday. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, at the age of 39.

I was a small child working alongside my mother in our neighborhood grocery store. One of our customers came in crying hysterically. Her words still ring in my head. "They shot him down like a dog!" My mother said, "They just announced on the radio that he has died." Mrs. Edgar was so devastated she almost collapsed at the counter.

For the next few days, we would watch on television over and over the tragic event and black folks would mourn forever. He is still immortalized in many older people's homes. I remember that we had this "plate-like" plaque with his picture which hung in our living room. Yes, this was before we were "collectors" of fine art. We were just folks. Folks who loved each other, spoke to each other, even if we didn't know each other's names and even picked up strangers at the bus stop because we knew all "Negroes" were struggling.

As I think about that terrible day 43 years ago, I wonder what Dr. King would think of us now. Did we really "come together" or are we farther apart?

Peace and Blessings.

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