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Southern Reaction v. Northern Reaction to King's Death
These articles present reactions to Martin Luther King’s death in the North, Midwest, and South. The articles leave a reader who did not experience the 1960s first hand wondering, “Was it really that bad?” Yes, many hated Dr. King for his message, and many saw him purely in a criminal light. Jim Bain, the Pastor for North Oxford Baptist Church in Mississippi, wrote in his church newsletter, “If there is to be a memorial service in our church, it will not be for a man [Martin Luther King Jr.] who was killed defiling the laws of our land.” In his article he also responds to the recent riots over King’s death by saying that African Americans “are too lazy to work and would rather steal.” Many articles in this collection condemn or minimize King’s actions, but several, including the articles from the Midwest, give either an objective or sympathetic view to King’s death. Whatever the newspapers printed, people reacted in a variety of ways to his death. The climate after his death included indifference and hatred towards this great man who had the courage to try and change racial relations in the United States. To minimize him or label him a criminal, lessens the power of the American people because the people of the United States hold the power to change unjust policies that defy the Constitution and the rights of all human beings.