It was a warm sunny day in New York City, perfect spring weather when I was walking near Central Park with from friends from high school. There was going to be a march that day protesting the Vietnam war. A car pulled up next to us and stopped allowing the passenger to step out. I immediately recognized him, Martin Luther King. I had seen so many of his pictures read his speeches watched on t.v as he marched in Alabama and across the South. Now he was in New York and we were standing next to him. I instinctively reached out to shake his hand and stumbled over my words a little bit as I shared with him my great admiration. He spoke about the beginning of his movement in Selma Alabama and gave us a brief but very concise history lesson on the roots of the Civil Rights struggle in this country. We expressed concern for his safety as he was alone. He continued to talk to us about the importance of the message. ” There is nothing to be afraid of.”By this time hundreds of people were moving around all of us smiling, laughing, cheering, spontaneous and sustained applause broke out. Their arms were reaching out to him, and he, in turn held out his arms to welcome and embrace all those who were around him. I walked directly behind him as he made his way to the area where the march was to start. He was engaged and unafraid . A beautiful gift of love and hope on that Spring day in New York City .
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