My family had just moved from Memphis and I was at Ga. Tech when King Died. My paper route in Memphis had been about a mile from the motel where he was killed.
Kennedy, King, and another Kennedy...What a time to be a teenager.
And then there was the war... Viet Nam...We all had friends that were dead, by then. Every time we learned of another name that would eventually be chiseled on that monument, we felt more guilty for still being alive, dancing, loving, and having our hearts broken in several different ways.
Memphis was such a strange place then. A crazy mayor and incredible music. I remember going to an Otis Redding concert at the Memphis Colosseum with 5000 National Guard troops outside, several of whom warned me not to go in because there could be trouble. There wasn't... It was a great show...I danced in the aisles with everybody else. People who looked like me were in the minority.
It was a terrible time...It was wonderful.
I still have friends from that time, including some that don't look like me... It matters less and less, every hour that passes, and there are some thing that I have learned.
Racism and bigotry are not about hatred. They are manifestations of fear. And...Until we drive out fear, these diseases of a fearful society will not be vanquished. Until we drive out those who would use fear for their own evil purposes...War will not be vanquished...Nor Racism, Nor Bigotry, Nor any of a host of evils manifest in a society of cowards.
I fear no human, and, though some ideas scare the crap out of me, the truth does not.
I do my best to teach that it is fear that is to be feared, and that this is not a new idea. To the thoughtful, this has always been so and is nothing original.
Fear is a cancer that can be cut out by consideration.
40 years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. was 39.
He was murdered by fear...Not hatred.