Wednesday, May 04, 2005

MLK readathon at noon today

I'll be joining Joe Herzenberg and others today at noon in front of the old Post Office for an open reading: everyone is invited to read a passage from the works of Dr. King. This is a warm-up for the dedication of Airport Road as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard coming up on Sunday, May 8. I'm guessing it'll feel kind of like the gatherings at this site on the MLK Holiday every year in January, but warmer. I might cut out the middleperson and bring my recording of King's last speech.

In today's Chapel Hill News, Catherine Wright offers a fresh report on Dr. King's visit to Chapel Hill on May 8-9, 1960--nice work to get new information on this important, yet underreported even in Chapel Hill's history. (No pictures of his visit have ever surfaced.) Daily Tar Heel reporter Emily Vasquez and N&O reporter Anne Blythe were similarly able to get new information and new perspectives on that event.

One of the most significant byproducts of our long conversations leading up to this Sunday's celebration was the rediscovery of the importance of Dr. King's Chapel Hill visit to the local civil rights movement.

UPDATE: The publicity could have been better. We could have had more people. But all that considered, it was fine. We had about a dozen readers who all selected different, but great, passages from King's work to read. And we learned something--at least I did. Dan Pollitt said that King's visit in 1960 was his second to Chapel Hill, that he came earlier, right after the Montgomery bus boycott, and met with some seven people here. We need to know more about that and make sure it isn't forgotten.

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