If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had not been assassinated in 1968, he would be 89 years old yesterday, January 15, 2018. I still remember the day Dr. King was shot. I was watching TV downstairs in our Huntsville, Alabama home and Mom came by our room with tears in her eyes. I’m not sure I had ever seen her cry before that time. It was an unsettling feeling to see tears running down my mom’s cheeks. I asked her what was wrong and she said, “They’ve killed Martin Luther King.” I started to cry, too.
I had heard much about Dr. King growing up. In most families, you don’t talk about religion or politics, especially at dinner; in the Holt family, that’s about all we talked about. Mom and Dad deeply respected Dr. King and believed in the cause of Civil Rights.
I grew up in the shadows of Jim Crow enforcers like Governors George Wallace (Alabama) and Lester Maddox (Georgia). They were strict segregationists, as were most of my friends. They hated Martin Luther King, Jr.; that was the ocean I swam in. But the boat we navigated was different. We were an anomaly in the South. My parents believed in equality under the law for every man.
This week is my precious mother’s memorial service. Etched upon my memory is seeing those tears in her eyes on April 4, 1968. Beautiful memories of two great people. My favorite quote from Dr. King was one that my mom shared with me many years ago, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Thankful for Dr. King and Melba Holt,