As the world celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Monday, his daughter Bernice King is asking for President Donald Trump to tone down his rhetoric on Twitter. (Jan. 13)
It was May 2006 and I had been executive editor of the state capital’s city newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat, for less than a year when I was invited to speak at a dinner commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Tallahassee bus boycott.
Abruptly, I was forced to confront the newspaper’s segregationist history from long ago.
The Democrat was a different place in 2006 than it had been 50 years earlier. African Americans had long since taken leadership positions, including my immediate predecessor. It had worked hard to change perceptions in the community.
But time doesn’t really heal all wounds.
Amid contentious political fights, one of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s memorable quotes from his book “Strength to Love” remains relevant. The AP asked notable people to consider his words and reflect on what they mean for today’s world. (Jan. 14)
Just a few months after Rosa Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ignited the civil rights movement with the Montgomery bus boycott, two young women attending Florida A&M University, Wilhemina Jakes and Carrie Patterson, refused a driver’s order to move to the back of a privately owned bus. The driver drove to the police station and the women were arrested.
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The next night, a cross was burned on the front lawn of their apartment. The Democrat urged the black community to stay calm, opining that it was merely a small cross, after all. FAMU students, supported by black business leaders and clergy, including the Rev. C.K. Steele, a founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with King, decided to boycott the bus system.
Now, 50 years later, I stood in front of a roomful of people that included the children of Rev. Steele. Some in the audience had been a part of the boycott and heroes in the struggle for equal treatment under the law. Some wiped away tears and applauded as they heard an apology for the first time for what had happened half a century earlier.
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Americans pause today to…