The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was born January 15, 1929. While Thursday is the 80th anniversary of the birth of this champion of civil and human rights and non-violence, the official observance of the birthday comes Monday, January 19, on Martin Luther King Day.
Dr. King visited Baltimore several times and was scheduled to speak at Morgan State just days before his life was cut short. He canceled that visit so he could return to Memphis to support a strike by garbage workers. The photo above is from his visit of October 31, 1964 taken by Baltimore Sun Photographer George Cook. This picture was published in The Evening Sun on October 31, 1964 with the caption
"GETTING OUT THE VOTE – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King , civil rights leader and Nobel Prize winner, greets thousands of admirers on a motorcade tour up North Gay Street today."
I do like this photo of Dr. King. You can see his broad smile as he greets thousands of admirers . This is the only photo The Sun has in its archives of the visit that day. Back then the newspaper's library usually only received the photo that was published, instead of prints from all the frames shot on a particular assignment. I'm also sad to say that the negatives are long gone. The process was much more labor intensive then -- the photographer had to print each photo by hand, running it through the different chemical processes in the darkroom, unlike today when photographs are downloaded.
There was another photographer, Leonard Freed, who I think captured the mood and spirit of Martin Luther King's baltimore visit, showing him reaching out and touching hands with the people. Mr. Freed did not work for The Sun. He was a prominent photojournalist who chronicled the civil-rights movement. He said, "photography is a visual language, " and you can see it in his photos here.
You can also see more Sun photos of Dr. King's Baltimore visits at this link.