1/15/2012-MLK Day

The civil rights message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was long ago burned into my brain when I lived in Chicago in 1966. 


I was in art school living on the northwest side of Chicago when King brought his protest movement against restrictive and racist housing regulations to the north. 


He and his supporters marched in Chicago's Marquette Park neighborhood on the southwest side of the city. An angry, hate-filled mob of white people surrounded him and his followers. I had never seen such a display so close to home. This thing happened all the time in the South, but this was Chicago, the city of big shoulders, right? 


I watched it on the evening news. Rocks, glass bottles and fireworks filled the air as the neighborhood haters attacked. Suddenly, a rock flew toward King, hitting him on the head. He fell to one knee as marchers surrounded him to protect him from more harm. 


Thirty people were injured that day and 40 were arrested. For the first time in my nearly 21 years, I was ashamed of my race. I began an assessment of my own racism. The following month, I drew an editorial cartoon about the Civil Rights Movement as a class project. 


Martin Luther King Jr.'s march on Chicago was one of the catalysts that inspired me to become an editorial cartoonist. He continues to inspire in ways I'll bet even HE could have never imagined.

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