The home where Martin Luther King’s family were bombed

This is the thirteenth of my posts based on a recent tour of the eastern half of the USA. I visited a number of sites relevant to African American history. To mark Black History Month, I am relating some of the things I saw, in the order I saw them.

In Montgomery, Alabama I visited the Dexter Parsonage Museum (photo above) – which was the home of Dr Martin Luther King Jr during the Montgomery Bus Boycott (of which more in a latter post). Dr King lived here with his family from 1954 to 1960. It is preserved with the furnishings and household things as per that period.

In the kitchen of the home, you can see how things were arranged when Dr King sat there one night drinking coffee in January 1956. It was during the bus boycott. He had just received an anonynmous phone call. The person on the other end of the line threatened to ‘blow his brains out’ in three days time if he didn’t leave Montgomery. Dr King sat at the kitchen table and had what he later described as an “Epiphany moment”. He felt he was being told to fight on for justice. So he stayed in his home and three days later, when he was at a meeting, the home was bombed with his family in it. Fortunately no one was hurt. Dr King returned to his home and spoke to the angry crowd which had gathered outside. He told them to go home and not resort to violence:

Don’t get panicky. Don’t do anything panicky. Don’t get your weapons. If you have weapons, take them home. He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. Remember that is what Jesus said. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love. I did not start this boycott. I was asked by you to serve as your spokesman. I want it to be known the length and breadth of this land that if I am stopped, this movement will not stop. If I am stopped, our work will not stop. For what we are doing is right. What we are doing is just. And God is with us.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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