In 1968, Martin Luther King Junior was slain hours after making a speech in Memphis.
Just hours after preventing bloodshed during a protest in the same city, Interim Memphis Police Department Director Mike Rallings quoted Dr. King. The night before, he talked young protesters off the I-40 bridge just seconds before heavily armored police were ready to move them off.
Civil rights activist Elaine Turner witnessed both. We asked the police tactics in the 60’s to those used by Director Rallings.
“I have to applaud our police director. I knew that he saw them as human beings. He saw them as his children or his grandchildren,” Turner told FOX13. “They were black like he was. Growing up as a black man in the south, he had to know the problems they were facing because he faced the same problems.
Turner was arrested in the 1960’s during a sit-in in Memphis. Her sister was arrested at the first Memphis non-violent sit in.
Days after Bloody Sunday in 1965, Turner was on the Edmond Pettis Bridge in Alabama. She was among the thousands marching from Selma to Montgomery for the right to vote.
We asked her opinion of the people who marched and protested in Memphis Sunday night.
“I grade those students with an A plus. They were magnificent. They were peaceful,” Turner told FOX13. “They voiced their opinion and yelled their slogans (like) Black Lives Matter. When we marched, we said ‘ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around."”
Elaine Turner owns Heritage Tours. The Cossit Library is currently on tour. It allows people to see how times have changed in America.
At this point, what Turner wants the most is to see the hearts of Americans change.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.