My Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Story

One facet of an inspired life is the personal interaction and serendipitous encounters that occur. Enthusiasm and openness attract people. It is amazing what you find when you embrace opportunity. Life is set up for happenstance, and being open and willing to embrace and make note of chance encounters amplifies the experiences.

When I was twelve years old, my family and I had a personal Sunday dinner with King at our family home near Philadelphia in the mid-1940’s. King was alone and yet to be known publicly, but he had been noticed by my father, a Northern Baptist minister. At the time King was still a graduate student in nearby Crozer Theological Seminary. My dad had invited him to our Drexel Hill Baptist Church to give a guest sermon. King’s sermon was about race and religion. I remember King’s booming voice and confident nature.

Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, Age 25My father was the first Philadelphia area pastor to invite blacks into his church membership and faced some hostilities for it. I remember a brick with a hate note attached tossed through a kitchen window. My father marched with King in the Civil Rights March on Washington on August 28, 1963. Later, when Martin Luther King Jr. became famous, my father received a certificate congratulating him on his spiritual stewardship, saying he was a “leader in the field of religious tolerance.”

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