One of the most moving stories that I know about the Civil Rights struggle is the aftermath of the bombing of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s home in 1956 during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. As a large African American crowd gathered menacingly around the few white policemen who had arrived on the scene, King brought out Coretta and Yoki, the baby, and told the crowd, "Be calm as I and my family are. We are not hurt and remember that if anything happens to me, there will be others to take my place."  The lives of the police were spared, the crowd dispersed, and the boycott continued until November of that year when the Supreme Court upheld the Alabama District Court's decision in Browder v. Gayle striking down segregation in the bus system . See Browder v. Gayle, 352 U.S. 903 (1956).

This story crystallizes King's moral courage, principled restraint, and strategic vision.  It also illustrates the power of a persistent moral vision to move even the slow turning wheels of the United States judicial system.  The justice system in America is very imperfect, but it has the potential to be better if we do not give up on our own struggle to be better.  Dr. King gave his life for justice.  Those of us who labor in the judicial system should spare it, and him, a thought.


© Charles Williamson Day, Jr., 2016. All rights reserved.

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