January 15, 2007


“Sometimes a missed opportunity can make a deeper impact on the soul than an opportunity that’s been taken”. In the early 60’s while I was trying to become a Rock and Roll Star, Martin Luther King, Jr. was going to jail on a regular basis for leading peaceful Civil Rights demonstrations in the deep south against segregation.

I’ve never admitted it before, but I was one of those “Negroes” who thought that King’s actions would hurt those of us who were trying to assimilate into a “White Society”. I remember on one of his trips to the north, to raise money for the movement, he came to Thessalonia Baptist Church in the Bronx, where I was a member.

I was 19, and still living at home with my Mother and Grandmother, and “Gooma” insisted that I go to a special Sunday afernoon service where Dr. King was speaking. When I said, “What do I want to see that troublemaker for?”

Gooma snapped back, “Jesus was a troublemaker!…but wouldn’t you have liked to have seen him if you had the chance?” There was nothing I could say…so I agreed to go as long as I could leave before he spoke, so I could make it down to Greenwich Village to meet my Beatnik friends at the Cafe Figaro. Starting that afternoon, when my downtown pals couldn’t stop talking about Rev. King and how I missed a chance to not only hear him speak, but to possibly meet him, I started to look at him…and myself differently.

As the months passed, I learned more about the great man and started to develop a social conscience. Through the years I’ve seen his influence not only affect our people, but all people…all over the world! Even though I didn’t actually meet him, I’m grateful to have seen him and breathed the same air that he did…if only for a few moments!”

January 15, has always been a special day since it’s Gooma’s birthday as well as Martin Luther Kings. God bless You doctor King and thank you Gooma, without each of you I would’ve become a lesser person than I am today!

From my book,  “I Did It For A Song” Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne available for $9.99 through paypal which you may send directly to me at 



  1. jayherron Says:

    thanks for that Artie-we all have interesting memories of that time! I’m glad there are men and woman like us who have a personal experience and memory of that time to keep all of that alive-I hope to always remember. Peace man.

  2. jayherron Says:

    …oops,I meant to invite you to read my post this morning-you will find how our lives have a parallel. Give it a chance as you read-you’ll see what I mean!

  3. Mike Tuggle Says:

    Sorry you didn’t get a chance to meet Dr. King. Steve Wonder said that meeting him at age 14 was the biggest moment of his life. I grew up in a racially diverse area of Chicago called Hyde Park. Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam lived 2 blocks away from us. Of course at age 8 or 9, I had no idea what that meant. I used to take walks down Woodlawn Avenue where we lived and I would often go past Mr. Muhammad’s house on 49th Street. Once or twice, I would see a tall, slim gentleman with reddish hair either coming from the house or standing outside of it. He spoke to me, although I don’t remember anything of what he said to me. The man turned out to be Malcolm X. I had heard of him, but all that I knew was that a lot of people thought he was bad person. At the time I met him, he hadn’t yet fallen out with Mr. Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. He would be assassinated in less that 2 years.

    Concerning Dr. King, he actually lived in Chicago during the summer of 1966, while he was orchestrating his march on Marquette Park. In those days, Marquette Park was a lily white community on the Southwest Side. There were no Black people living there then. You couldn’t even walk through the area without fearing for your health. I guess Marquette Park was similar to Bensonhurst in it’s “heyday”. Dr. King and his family moved into an apartment in Lawndale, which was and still is “the hood”, a West Side ghetto. I remember after the march in which the residents pelted Dr. King with racial insults as well as bricks, Dr. King said it was the worst situation he had ever been in and that people from Mississippi should come to Chicago to learn how to hate. Today, Marquette Park is also racially diverse as is the western suburbs of Cicero and Berwyn which in back in the day were also dangerous places for non-whites to travel.

  4. Steve Harvey Says:

    My G, G, G, grandfather, Dr. Ellwood Harvey, was part of the Underground Railroad in the Chester-Chadd’s Ford, PA area before the Rebellion (aka The Civil War). He was involved in the rescue of Anna Maria Weems about whom the book Stealing Freedom was written.
    During the Civil War, in 1862, he was an assistant surgeon at the General Military Hospital in Chester. After the war it became the Crozer Theological Seminary. In 1948-51 Dr. King was a student there and the first black president of the student body. He graduated in 1951 and went onto become the great civil rights activist.
    Ellwood died in 1889 and is buried right across the street, in the Chester Rural Cemetary, from the hospital/seminary. There is a plaque now in front of the seminary memoralizing Dr. King, Jr. If you go to my website you can see a photo of it. If you want to learn more about the UGRR era and Ellwood’s part in history join the Yahoogroups website. It’s free, but Yahoo makes you sign up. Lots of photos and articles I’ve either collected or written myself.
    Both Dr. Harvey and Dr. King, Jr. were on the same team, just in different eras.

  5. Steve Owen Says:

    very cool story, Artie…thanks for sharing with us…


  6. Andrew C. Jones Says:

    Great story as always, Artie. But don’t you agree with me that the media really should find more and different King speeches (and interviews, too) to play than just “I Have A Dream” over and over? The only other King speech one hears often is his “Mountaintop” speech, on the anniversary of his death, and even that gets a little threadbare. (Okay, end of rant.)

  7. Pete Bilderback Says:


    Thanks for the story. Your Grandmother was a wise woman. I really appreciate your refreshing honesty in relaying the story.

  8. jimmyboi2 Says:

    Amazing almost-experience! Ahhh, the chances not taken…
    And what ALSO amazes me is how many people continue to excoriate him and the entire movement. There are plenty of people in this country who would be VERY happy for it to be 1930 again. Very frightening, these know-nothings…
    Side note: I once read that, when we inhale, we breathe in at least one molecule of “air” that every human who ever was and is had already breathed in … food for thought !

  9. Chris Says:

    Luckily my father, Jimmy Radcliffe, did take the opportunity to meet the Reverend Martin Luther King who inspired the anthemic song and recording “STAND UP”

    “Stand Up” – Jimmy Radcliffe

    May the dream continue to spread and inspire a new generation with love and tolerance for diversity.

    Happy New Year!

  10. elaine o. Says:

    Martin Luther King was a hero to me and friends who thought as I did, during
    that horrible time. The inequality, abuse and murder of Black Americans by
    white trash is the darkest mark in our country’s history.

    Thank God for Martin Luther King who organized a march for justice, enabling
    Black Americans to stand tall against the tyranny of the white laws that ruled
    our country –

    On January 20th 2009, we turned a page in history by electing our first
    Black American President …..Too bad Martin Luther King couldn’t be alive
    to celebrate with us –

    Elaine O

  11. I was nearlycouldnt read English before, but thanks to blogs like yours get a B+! (Which is very awesome for me :), and yes I live in France *rolleyes*) And btw, if you want to see my writing writings could you please visit my site Runescape Hacks

  12. Mike Edwards Says:

    Hi Artie,
    I am sorry that I have not written a thank you line for your sharing your reminiscences about Martin Luther King with us. So, here I am, nearly a month after the event, thanking you for pointing out (based on your own personal experience) what a difference Martin Luther King made to so many peoples’ lives.

  13. Stevie Says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on
    the video to make your point. You definitely know
    what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site
    when you could be giving us something informative to read?

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