gene herrick


Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, a nation remembers and honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whose struggle for civil rights continues to inspire on his 85th birthday anniversary.

King’s landmark moment was perhaps the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was celebrated just last year during its 50th anniversary.

As Vernon Watkins, a march attendee, recollected:

“He just leaned into the moment,” Watkins said. “Looked out at the crowd the way Baptist preachers do and gave them what they needed: that idea of the dream. You might have to wait, but if you fight for dignity, everything is going to be OK.”

King prodded him to imagine an America racially unified instead of divided. Still, it was the entire afternoon, taken together, that left the most lasting impression: the camaraderie, the thoughtfulness, the feeling that if a gathering like this could take place, it was time for Watkins to expand his horizons.

Photos: Gene Herrick, Charles Gorry / Associated Press, Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images