MLK Day: Newark historian remembers Dr. King | Opinion

Published: Jan. 17, 2022

 

Junius Williams faced Klan members on horses and police with batons when he attempted to march with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Montgomery during a week of protests to secure voting rights for Black people from March 21 to March 25, 1965.

The SNCC protestors were held back until Dr. Martin Luther King showed up. A path cleared, and led by Dr. King they marched — for a block — and made a U-turn right back to the barricaded area they started from.

Williams said the police threw peanuts at them and he felt embarrassed and carried that animosity toward Dr. King for quite a while. Williams said even though they were fighting for the same cause there was a competition between SNCC and the Southern Christian Leadership Committee (SCLC). They eventually marched to Montgomery, and like many other activists at the time he was arrested and spent time in jail and Kilby state prison.

Williams said after Dr. King’s death he thought he should have worked with him and said kinder things about him but he came to realize that he was one of the greatest leaders we ever had.

Like many other activists who have fought for civil rights over the years, Williams is dismayed that we are still fighting for voting rights almost 60 years after they marched in 1965.

Ande Richards is new to New Jersey. She wants to hear from New Jersey’s communities of color, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ communities, and those who feel underserved by traditional media. She may be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Instagram @angelcitygirl or Twitter @anderichards.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-01-18 03:21:25 -0800