My dad and the King

Martin Luther King Jr. at a press conference March 26, 1964.

Martin Luther King Jr. at a press conference March 26, 1964.


Crocker Art Museum

216 O St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 808-7000

On October 16, 1967, my father took the day off from work. He drove from a local air force base to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak at Sacramento State. My father didn’t wear his uniform. He said the public felt resentment and animosity toward members of the armed forces. King was the best speaker he’d ever heard. King ended the speech the same way he did the famous “I Have a Dream” speech: “Free at last, free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!”

When King was assassinated less than six months later, my father watched the television in anger as Air Force staff applauded and cheered. He had to hide his rage for his colleagues’ callousness as well as the loss of King.

Perhaps I grew up biased, since King is now one of my heroes. I’ve admired him since learning about him in elementary school. In high school, I visited his home, church and grave at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. If you’re a fan like me, or if you’re just lucky enough to have the day off Monday, you can honor the legacy of Dr. King by participating in a celebratory event.

One event, run by local nonprofit MLK365, is a peaceful march that ends with a celebration and job fair at the Sacramento Convention Center. The south route of the march begins at the Oak Park Community center, with opening ceremonies at 8 a.m. The north route of the march will start from Grant Union High School and departs at 9 a.m. Beginning at 10 a.m. at the Convention Center, there will be a multicultural talent showcase, an education village, and employment, business and health exhibitors. More information is available at or by calling (916) 716-6737.