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“True peace is not merely the absence of tension.  It is the presence of justice.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

CELEBRATING EQUALITY, FAITH AND THE PROFOUND TRUTHS OF DR. KING’S MESSAGE

REMEMBERING MLK AND HIS WORK Glenda Strong Robinson recounts her days as a civil rights activist along with highlights of the Civil Rights Movement and marching with MLK.

One of nine children, she was born near Memphis, Tennessee and grew up during the Jim Crow era—a brutal and repressive era rooted in the growing refusal of southern states to grant enslaved negroes freed in the Civil War equal rights with whites. 

Her grandfather, born in 1860 and freed at the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation (1865), later became a minister and educator as a young man. By God’s grace, through the mentoring of a few white men and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Grandpa Strong got his college degree and later became an educator and minister. 

“Many of my family members were educators, ministers and church organizers,” she says. 

For many Blacks, education was the ticket to a better life. Preachers and teachers held highly respected positions in the community. 

“My grandfather and father insisted that all of their children be educated—and they were.”

This focus on faith, ministry and education was the beginning of the legacy that the family still enjoys. 

As associate minister at Second Baptist Church Boulder, and the second woman confirmed there, Minister Robinson shares her faith and makes a positive impact wherever she goes. 

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  

— From the March on Washington culminating with the “I Have a Dream” Speech by Dr. King on August 28,1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

This galvanized the Civil Rights Movement and brought the plight of the disenfranchised, particularly Black Americans, to an international audience. 

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 changed life for everyone,” says Minister Robinson, “with many lives lost throughout the country as we sought basic human rights.” 

Her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement began upon her transfer from all-Black Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee to predominantly white Memphis State University in 1966. She talks of her traumatic experience during the transfer to Memphis State. 

“I was among a very small population of Black students.”

Robinson recalls her participation in Black student rallies to organize and foster support and commitment to the struggle during the 1960s. While there, she participated in the integration of local lunch counters that "refused to serve Negroes." 

In describing the terrifying experiences and civil rights activism coming alive, she saw domestic terrorism first hand.  

“And what frightening experiences they were.” 

On March 28, 1968 she participated in the “I Am A Man” March led by Dr. King where a riot erupted, incited by outside agitators. Dr. King vowed:  “I only conduct 'non-violent marches,' and was whisked away to return to Atlanta.  

Little did anyone know this would be his final march.

“We the students helped older people, disabled people and others get into Clayborn Temple AME Church for safety.” Once finished, three officers entered the church and dropped tear gas bombs on them.   

“Witnessing this personally was one of the scariest moments of my life.”

“Those were very dark days for me and in the history of our nation,” she says. “Being denied basic human rights because of the color of your skin is humiliating, degrading and very painful.”

On April 4, 1968, only one week later, Dr. King was senselessly killed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

On April 8, 1968, four days following King’s assassination, Minister Robinson took part in the Dr. MLK, Jr. Memorial March to honor the legacy of one who paid the ultimate price so that all mankind could be free. 

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