Martin Luther King Jr. Had Sturdy Relationship With LA Throughout Civil Rights Motion – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Martin Luther King Jr. is known for his influence in the United States, but he also had a strong connection with the Southland and made several trips to Los Angeles during the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to a group of Watts residents in southern Los Angeles on August 18, 1965 and tells them he is “here to support you because you supported me in the south.” (Getty Images)

“A lot of people just don’t know how King was connected to Los Angeles,” USC pastor and program manager Najuma Smith Pollard told CBSLA’s Suzanne Marques.

CONTINUE READING: Some Porter Ranch mothers were seraded by the Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas on Sunday

Dr. King spoke at USC in 1967, but at that point he had been traveling to LA for more than a decade.

“He came here back in 1956 when he was attending Jefferson High School,” said Pollard.

On that trip he also hosted a parade through South LA.

The following year the Baptist minister preached at the Second Baptist Church, also near USC.

“I was a member of Second Baptist Church here in Los Angeles, a legacy church in Los Angeles, and at the time he and Pastor Kilgore were close friends,” said Pollard.

In 1960, Dr. King went to downtown LA to protest the split at Woolworth’s department store.

In June 1961, he held a press conference at Los Angeles International Airport and toured Compton and Watts.

In 1963, Dr. King at Wrigley Field, home of the LA Angels, keynote speaker at the LA Freedom Rally. Almost 40,000 people filled the stadium with stars like Paul Newman, Sammy Davis Jr., Dorothy Dandridge and Rita Moreno.

On May 31, 1964, Dr. King at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the same year he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The next year, Dr. King at the LA World Affairs Council at the Hollywood Palladium.

CONTINUE READING: Video shows flower sellers robbed Sunday in Harbor City

“I can assure you that my experience here in Los Angeles is a refreshing contrast to Selma, Alabama, for these days,” said Dr. King the council.

During his trip, he also spoke at the Temple of Israel in Hollywood.

“It’s been a long time and I clearly remember it,” said Bruce Corwin.

“The sanctuary was full,” added Ruth Rose.

“You were in the presence of greatness and you knew it, and … the room was so quiet,” Corwin said. “You could hear everyone breathing, you could hear him breathing. And it was … significant. “

“DR. King was remarkable,” said Rose. “He was eloquent, his words were meaningful and it was an emotional evening.”

A planned trip to the Cinerama Dome was canceled after police found dynamite in the theater.

After the Watts Riots in 1965, Dr. King went to South LA to speak to black residents about their struggles. He spoke to President Lyndon Johnson about issues of police brutality and economic despair that remain relevant today.

“It is at the heart of a community that has faced gang violence and poverty-related issues for a number of years,” said Pollard.

When Dr. King spoke at USC’s Bovard Auditorium in 1967, there was a bombshell, but Dr. King was still finishing his speech.

MORE NEWS: Lack of flowers increases the cost on this Mother’s Day

“Fighting for your freedom comes at risk, and everyone is unwilling to take the risk to do this work,” said Pollard. “It was well received in LA, but its message was still very controversial. And there were those who didn’t want him to come. But it came and made an impression, and it is a legacy we cannot forget. “

Comments are closed.