Tuesday, February 07, 2012

April 4, 1968

Was just thinking about Martin Luther King being assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, and the subsequent black riots and accompanying white fears... I was 3 and my parents lived in Charleston in 1968, and as I grew up, I heard stories of how my dad stayed up all night April 4 with a shotgun by the front door, fearing black marauders coming for revenge...

His sitting up all night with a shotgun isn't easily "racism" in this case. It's pure internal fear and drama.

I don't know that I'm intelligent enough, or a good enough writer, or a good enough historian to adequately explore what some lower middle-class Southern white people felt/feared on the night of MLK's death (and what led up to that fear in their upbringing). The dichotomy between King's obvious logic in his arguments for equality, and why exactly some could not accept it and feared it. The contrast between the historic assassination and the "official" national/world reaction with the one man sitting up all night by his front door to protect his family, and what was going through HIS head...

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