A painful 50th: SF church remembers legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

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For all the history in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, here's an overlooked fact that was very important on the day the church opened, March 28, 1965. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered the sermon.

For all the history in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, here's an overlooked fact that was very important on the day the church opened, March 28, 1965. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered the sermon.

RELATED: Remembering the civil rights leader with his own powerful words

"There were five-thousand people here," said the church's Dean Malcolm Young. The occasion bears remembering on this, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's death. "It was an overflow crowd, down the steps, into the parking lots and streets," as Dr. King preached about civil rights and connections with self, God, and community.

Dean Young was not alone in remembrances Wednesday.

"What I realize now is that I was making history but not conscious of it because I was in the moment," said 92-year-old David Johnson, a retired photographer who owes his place in the Library of Congress to images he shot, that Dr. King inspired, during the Civil Rights movement. "I am proud of my legacy. I am leaving behind a piece of history."

Much of David Johnson's work is color blind, and also cultural. His Civil Rights photographs, however, reach a transient level. On the day Dr. King went to Washington DC and delivered his "I Have A Dream Speech", David Johnson drew an assignment to document it.
RELATED: Wednesday marks 50 years since assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Some of those photographs became iconic, especially his frame of a young man sitting in Abraham Lincoln's lap at the memorial. "That was my lucky day," said Johnson. "Photographer's luck."

As to the backstory...

"I think he was just resting. It was a good place to sit."

"Did he see the symbolism?"

"I don't think so..."

As if that matters through the filter of history.

Especially today.

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Related Topics:
societymartin luther king jrmlkholidayassassinationAfrican Americanshistoryblack historybay area eventseventsSan JoseSan Jose State University
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