Monday, January 19, 2015

Where were you?

So much water under the bridge. When MLK was assassinated, I was in 10th grade, living in Durham, NC. In those days the racial tensions were high, particularly in Durham, a city which has changed enormously from those days in the late '60's. In those days, though, the Klan was active and my family had to be careful, since as being Catholic made us potential targets.

He was shot on a Thursday evening, and the news of course took a bit longer to get out than it does now. The next day being Friday, there was concern about violence erupting over the weekend. After school on the following day in early April, I remember standing out on the driveway of our home, thinking about what might happen. There were warnings of violence and cross burnings, riots etc. The racial violence was almost a daily occurrence then. I remember going to DC to help my sister with a new baby the year before and seeing the fires from the plane. I was going to help with the baby while she drove us all back to our parents in Durham, to get away from the violence in the city.

It is strange how those moments are frozen in our memories, with sometimes the seemingly most insignificant of details remaining part of the photograph in our minds. I can see where I was standing late that Friday afternoon in 1968, looking out to the edge of our front yard and fearing the burning cross.

Where were you that day?

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