Tag Archives: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Former bodyguard for Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma greets southeast Queens students

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

He walked through the streets of Selma, Ala., with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to spread a message of equality and love. And on Thursday, Dabney Montgomery, 92, spread that same message to some young minds in Queens.

“The future looks bright,” Montgomery said to a sea of children at Merrick Academy. “Because you stand up straight, you are thinking positive and you are choosing people like Martin Luther King as your hero.”

Montgomery was born in Alabama in 1923. He was one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviation unit in U.S. history, assigned to go into battle against the Nazis during World War II. He said his fight overseas was no different than his fight at home.

He walked with civil rights activists through Selma, Ala., in 1965 during the historic march to Montgomery, Ala., as a bodyguard for King. Montgomery pledged his life to keeping King safe so that he could spread the message of justice and equality for all people in the future.

The 50-mile trek from March 21 to 25 was the third effort to try to reach the Alabama state capital, after two previous attempts were met by state troopers and county sheriff’s deputies, who attacked the marchers with batons and dogs.

Today, the events at Selma have come to the forefront again with the release of a new movie about the march, amid demonstrations across the nation over charges that blacks continue to be the target of police abuse.

Montgomery explained that walking through the streets during the march from Selma made him “tired but happy,” and that he was overjoyed with love from others in the experience that he will never forget.

Montgomery started off his speech by speaking about a 1918 U.S. military document he held up before his audience. He explained to the children that back then, people of color were considered too inept to fly a warplane. He then gave a powerful message about how fighting for your rights for equality and having a “can-do” mentality can go a long way.

“We fought, in spite of the study, in spite of the reign of fire and in spite of all the negative statements said about us,” he told the crowd. “We stood together and we shouted, ‘We will fight! We will fight!’”


In his closing remarks, Montgomery reminded the children to always believe in themselves and that there is a great reward for those who live positively.

“Love one another as brothers and sisters. Fight for the right of men,” he said. “When you are right, don’t compromise.”



March on Washington remembered on 50th anniversary

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jamiah Adams

The NAACP and Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network co-hosted a March on Washington on August 24, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The event, which paid tribute to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the struggle for equal rights, was headlined by speeches from various minority leaders at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The crowd at the event stretched from the Lincoln Memorial to the length of the reflecting pool, much like it had a half-century ago. Speakers emphasized that the struggle is not over.

“This is not the time for a nostalgic commemoration, nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration, the task is not done, the journey is not complete, we can and we must do more,” said Martin Luther King III, an activist and the eldest of Dr. King’s children. “Sadly the tears of Trayvon Martin’s mother and father remind us that far too frequently, the color of one’s skin remains a license to profile, to arrest and to even murder with no regard for the content of one’s character.”

Archie Spigner, who was the councilmember of District 27 in Queens until 2001, said the event reflects that we still have to fight for an equal world.

As a labor activist 50 years ago, Spigner attended the original March on Washington, but couldn’t make the march this year.

“I think that Martin Luther King (Jr.) was a gifted orator,” Spigner said. “It was a masterful speech. That’s why that speech still holds to day.”

The speeches were made on Saturday, but the true anniversary is on Wednesday, August 28. There will be another March on Washington then as well, highlighted by a speech by President Barack Obama.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Wednesday: Overcast with rain showers, then thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 84. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers in the evening, then overcast. Low of 72. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: “Hotel Transylvania” in Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Park

New York City Parks invites families to “Hotel Transylvania.” Part of the citywide Summer Movie Series, “Hotel Transylvania” in Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Park on Wednesday, August 28 at 8 p.m. offers family-friendly fun at no cost. Families are encouraged to bring food and blankets, as only a limited number of chairs will be available. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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