I grew up in the 1960s in a small Kansas town, not in the South but close enough to have had a segregated public pool in then-recent memory. Regular summer family camping trips took us all over the country, including the South with those peculiar “whites” and “coloreds” drinking fountains.
My father, a minister and dean of students at the local small liberal arts college, went with carloads of students into the southern states to participate in the civil rights marches.
The day of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, my father was attending a church conference committee meeting back East and was hastily sent to Memphis, Tennessee, a representative and symbol of support in those traumatic times. He left an essay chronicling his experiences and interactions that day — a minority white man in a sea of black.
When I participate in a commemorative march, it is of course primarily for Dr. King, but also for my father.
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