From The Vault Of Art Shay: The Dream Still Persists
By Art Shay in News on Aug 29, 2013 4:00PM
Martin Luther King, having shakily moved to Chicago, speaks to a crowd in Soldier Field on July 10, 1966.
John And Viola McFerren lead a protest march through Fayette County, Georgia, in 1965. This very week, a Princeton University survey has asked me for permission to use this picture as a teaching tool for students in Virginia and other states.
In 1963 I showed this brave black couple moving into our first Mayor Richard Daley's neighborhood under police guard.
Martin and Coretta Scott King then went to Chicago's City Hall where, echoing an action centuries old by an Episcopal representative of the original Martin Luther at Wurttemberg, taped the simple demands of black citizens on the door.
In the hot summer of (I believe) 1966, some blacks began destroying their home neighborhoods in the angry name of Civil Rights. This is Roosevelt Road in flames.
Swarms of demonstrators across the country bedeviled the local police.
A Chicago cop catches a fire-starter in the act.
April 4, 1968. The day of Dr. King's murder, Life Magazine chartered a plane to take world-class writer-historian Garry Wills and me to Memphis. We covered the hunt for the usual suspects.
I managed to get into the rooming house from which Dr. King was assassinated and provided a gunsight view of the target area 100 yards across backyards to the Lorraine Motel.
This is Dr.King's room and bed at the Lorraine Motel from which he stepped out onto the porch and took James Earl Ray's bullet to his neck. Dr. King's closet is seen in disarray, his briefcase is being examined by Dr. Hosea Williams, an aide.
April 1968: At the funeral home the next morning Wills and I were chilled by the voices of the undertakers nervously tryingto make Dr. King's face presentable his "I Have a Dream" speech played over the PA system. I insisted that these workers remove the screen they set up to shield the gunshot that tore up his face.
The crowds streamed through.
On the parade to the airport to fly King's body back home to Atlanta for his funeral, Coretta led the King family, escorted by Hosea Williams and, at right, the quiet, dignified back-of-the-bus activist, Rosa Parks who helped start the entire movement.
(Legendary Chicago-based photographer Art Shay has taken photos of kings, queens, celebrities and the common man in a 60-year career. This week, Art's photos show how far the country has come in 50 years and how far we have to go.)
Fifty years! Our ears, our eyes and all our other openings to our consciousness are brimming with those two words this week. We have marked anniversaries ever since we lived in trees. Like us, our heroes have stumbled forward into the Now on feet of clay. Like some endless lawsuit over ownership of the human spirit, the evidence of our humanity—and lack of it—keeps piling up. This just in: the car-to-car Klan murder of human rights activist Viola Liuzzo in 1953 on a road not far from where Birmingham's Eugene "Bull" Connor pressure-hosed and pit-bulled demonstrators, has been solved.
To cover his FBI's complicity, J. Edgar Hoover, a moral swamp of a leader, was found to be the voice that sang out the false accusation that Mrs .Liuzzo was in Alabama for personal, immoral purposes. "We ‘uns is shocked. Shocked!" Making the FBI-propelled Klansmen with guns, an unofficial carload of outraged citizens doing their duty.
While in Washington,the sanctimoniously tough J. Edgar cross-dressed for the pleasure of several boys working under him. These past 50 years and several more around them, bloodied Martin's dream and delays it still from coming completely true.
Published with permission.
If you can't wait until this time every week to get your Art Shay fix, please check out the photographer's blog, which is updated regularly. Art Shay's book, Chicago's Nelson Algren, is also available at Amazon.