If I were Martin Luther King Jr.
Two incidents happened in my late childhood and early adolescence that had a tremendous effect on my development. The first was the death of my grandmother. She was very dear to each of us, but especially to me. I sometimes think I was her favorite grandchild. I was particularly hurt by her death because of the extreme love I had for her. She helped greatly in raising all of us. My parents attempted to explain it to me, and I was sure that somehow my grandmother still lived. I guess this is why today I am such a strong believer in personal immortality.
The second incident happened when I was about six years of age. From the age of three I had a white playmate who was about my age. We always felt free to play our childhood games together. He did not live in our community, but he was usually around every day; his father owned a store across the street from our home.
At the age of six we both entered school they were both separate schools, of course. I remember how our friendship began to break as soon as we entered school; this was not what I wanted but what he wanted. The high point came when he told me one day that his father had demanded that he would play with me anymore. I never will forget what a great shock that was to me. I immediately asked my parents about the reasons behind such a statement.
We were at the dinner table when the situation was discussed, and here for the first time I was made aware of the existence of a race problem. I had not thought of it before. As my parents discussed some...