Reporter recalls 'eerie' but calm night with King's widow, children

Breaking News

Editor's note: Former Associated Press reporter Kathryn Johnson is writing a memoir titled "Let Kathryn In," which includes stories about the civil rights movement.


It was eerie. Just hours after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated, I was in his home with his widow and eldest child, watching TV coverage of his death in awed silence.

I felt a strong sense of unreality, being inside the home of the world-renowned civil rights leader at the end of his life. This was because during 18 years as a reporter for The Associated Press, I had been there early in King's courageous crusade that eventually led to his untimely death.

How I ended up at the King home on the night of April 4, 1968, began about an hour earlier when I first heard the terrible news on a car radio.

I was with a date in Atlanta, driving through a springtime rainstorm to see a movie, when the bulletin broke. My date immediately turned his car around in the direction of the King home.

During the short drive through the hard rain we were both silent, stunned and locked in our own memories of King.

comments powered by Disqus