Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fifty + Years ago....a day in my life

When I was a teenager I belonged to a vibrant community Congregationalist church whose minister was inspired and inspiring.    I remember him well and the various guest speakers he invited to our church. 

 One of these and the most revered was Dr. Martin Luther King who came to our modest church to preach both sermons and spend time with the family of our pastor,  Fred Doty.   On that day, January 15, 1961,  Dr. King also spoke at the nearby Canoga Park High School which was the rival to my Taft High.   It was his birthday. 
It all came about because Fred ( we were pretty informal in that church) had stayed up all night reading King's Stride Toward Freedom, The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story and was so moved by it that he immediately made a call to Dr. King to thank him and extend an invitation to come to the San Fernando Valley.  

 As it turned out the visit could not be accomplished until the following year but Dr. King did come and spoke to not just our church but a near capacity audience from our community.  
At the time I knew that he was a great man because of the dialogue at home and the way we had been brought up all of our lives, but I did not know what was to follow with integration in America or how Dr. King's life would tragically end only 7 years later. 

 I realize now that I was to meet one of the great visionaries of the previous century, a kind and committed man whose hand I got to grasp that day.  

The speech that Dr. King delivered to the community was called "The Future of Integration".     Here is the article from Canoga Park High School   http://www.canogaparkhs.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=170229&id=0  

The Speech can not be found on You Tube but is archived and can be accessed from the bottom of the article.

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