It was September 3rd, 1958 my wife and I were on our way to the Montgomery courthouse to aid a fellow pastor, Ralph Abernathy. When we finally arrived to the courthouse two police officers refused to let us in. "My fellow friends I'm here today to watch the hearing of my fellow pastor and dear friend, to aid him in his trial". There is no wrong doing of this I explained. The unethical police officers refused and violently yelled and tried to throw me down the stairs. I stood, Hysterical, contemplating what could cause the officers to behave in such a matter. Their violence didn't solve anything; however it did put me in a position inferior to theirs. I remained calm and replied back with kindness and determination. I told him, "I shall not leave the Montgomery courthouse steps until I get the chance to enter the courthouse and observe the trial."
The cops were very ignorant and didn't know who I was. They brutally grabbed and twisted my arms, pushed, and dragged me a block and a half to the police station. All that I stood so mercilessly for such as nonviolence was being ruthlessly used against my own will. There my violent acts toward not only me, but towards the African American society in general were savagely used as an alternative to what they perceived as their superior positions. My wife Coretta King was shocked, and frantically yelled at these two fellow officers. The cops quickly told her to keep her mouth shut or she will be in the same shoes as me. She quickly calmed down and nodded her head. I also calmed her down by explaining to her that I will be okay and that my voice will be heard on the newspaper stands by tomorrow.
On the way to the police station I was dragged, pushed, whipped, slapped, and my hands were twisted for a block and a half, however, the physical distress I endured was merely nothing compared to the emotional and social anguish towards my wife and me. Many people followed me to the station as they followed Mohandas Gandhi's independence movement, symbolizing a common goal towards gaining independence by means of nonviolence.
I spoke and said "we have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our God-given constitutional right". The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the vicious darts of segregation to remain as patient as we have been. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, a man for no wrong doing, you ask yourself ,where is the justice and freedom for which this country represents?"
They charged me with loitering, and were going to put me in jail for 14 days. I wanted to go to jail as a protest. I wanted to criticize the entire police department for their hatful crimes against blacks, such as the violent acts I had no choice but to face by those officers. Once I would be free from jail, the news-stands will be making hundreds upon hundreds of dollars when I discredit the Montgomery police commissioner for his dishonorable police officers. I would make sure that society would be able to comprehend the heartless acts that the Montgomery police enacted upon all African Americans.
The police commissioner finally came to the booking station and found out that I was going to jail for loitering. The commissioner knew who I was, there have been earlier incidents between us, and didn't want any problems with the media. He diffused the problem by paying the ten dollar fine himself. The commissioner choose to pay the fine because he wanted to keep my preaching from hurting the Police department, knowing the immense power I mastered with using the media as a resource of rightful unification.
While being fiercely pushed and ravaged by the officers, I found myself deemed as to why I was being but in such a position buy these officers. For what they called "loitering" and for what I called freedom of speech, I would be put away in jail for 14 days surrounded by the true barbarians of our society.