On the 50th anniverity of the assassination of Dr.Martin Luther King, my mind goes back to that time. I had just graduated from law school and passed the bar in 1967. I had gotten a deferrment from the madatory draft by joining the DC National Guard in Washington, DC. I had worked my way through law school by serving on the midnignt shift of the US Capitol Police Force. While I was going through basic traininng at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, I recieved a call that I had passed the bar. I was happy to be back in Washinton DC to work in my first job as a lawyer, serving as Legislative Assitant to Senator Herman Talmadge of Georgia.
I was invited to attend a large banquet presided over by Vice President Hubert Humphrey, we had sat down for the banquet meal and speeches. However, as soon as the banquet begun Humphrey rose to announce that Martin Luther King had been shot and the banquet was called off. That was on April 4, 1968. There had already been civil unrest in some other major cities.
Therefore, when I returned to my appartment I took off my rented tuxedo and put on my army fatiques. My military pollice unit would serve as the first line of defense in the case of civil unrest. As I related in my book, "the Death of Civility and Common Sense", when my unit was riding in the back of jeeps to our stations in fire departments around the city, a well dressed black man rushed out to beg for our help. He said "please help me, these boys are burning down my store". However, our commander insisted we go to our destination of a fire station in another part of the city. I will always remember that guy's face.
A few years laterI would get to know Dr. King's father, Martin Luther King Senior. In those days Congress would take extended summer recesses. As an unmarried senior staff member I would be sent to Atlanta to manage Senator Talmadge's Atlanta office. That is how I got to know Martin Luther King Senior, the long time pastor of the Ebeneezer Baptist Church. We worked together in community meetings to enhance the lives of his parishoners. He was a grand old gentleman who never expressed bitterness or hatred. He was always focused on serving his flock. He lived to the grand old age of 85. He was known by everyone as “Daddy King”.
I never had the opportunity to meet Martin Luther King Jr. ,but I have read a lot about him. Both men ebodied the principles that have made this county great. These principles would help us return to civilty and common sense.