Martin Luther King Cornered at a Party


‘I saw King again, later that same evening, at a party given by this same friend. He came late, did not stay long. I remember him standing¬† in the shadows of the room, near a bookcase, drinking something nonalcoholic, and being patient with the interlocutor who had trapped him in this spot. He obviously wanted to get away and go to bed. King is somewhat below what is called average height, he is sturdily built, but is not quite as heavy or as stocky as he had seemed to me at first. I remember feeling, rather as though he were a younger, much-loved, and menaced brother, that he seemed very slight and vulnerable to be taking on such tremendous odds.’

‘The Dangerous Road Before Martin Luther King,’ James Baldwin, Harper’s Magazine, February, 1961.