Saturday, April 1, 2017

Keeping retirement weird. A road trip to Memphis to honor Dr. King. | Fred Klonsky

Keeping retirement weird. A road trip to Memphis to honor Dr. King. | Fred Klonsky:

Keeping retirement weird. A road trip to Memphis to honor Dr. King.



Civil rights ldr. Andrew Young (L) and others stan
The Lorraine Motel. Memphis. April 4, 1968.
Retirement offers the opportunity to take road trips.
The first week in April seems like a good time to head for Memphis. Anne and I have never been and Tuesday begins a year of commemoration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was murdered in Memphis 50 years ago on April 4th, 1968.
I only got to hear Dr. King speak live once. It was at a giant civil rights rally in Los Angeles at the old Wrigley Field where the Angels first played. The rally featured tons of Hollywood’s liberal celebrities like Tony Franciosa, Paul Newman and Charlton Heston, who played Ben Hur in the movie and ended up being a gun nut conservative.
When the news came over the radio that Dr. King had been shot and killed I was sitting in a car waiting to pick up my mom after work. Mom didn’t drive and if I was not in a class at Los Angeles City College I would head by the office where she worked as a secretary and give her a ride home rather than her having to take two busses.
When she stepped into the car, I told her the news.
She said nothing. She just looked straight ahead as we drove home in silence.
The next day members of my chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, the LACC Black Student Union and the Chicano student organization, MECHa, followed the call for a student strike at every school in Los Angeles where Black students attended.
We picketed in the morning.  Where classes were still meeting, we entered them and explained the strike.
Some professors were not pleased that we disrupted their lesson plans.
Hundreds of us gathered in the quad by the flag pole, our traditional spot for Keeping retirement weird. A road trip to Memphis to honor Dr. King. | Fred Klonsky:

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