On that day, April 4, 1968, Grady Rivers tried to articulate to his son what Martin Luther King had done to advance civil rights, to fight for racial equality, to use words, not violence, to bring about change.
And now he was dead in a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 39.
From that day forward, Dr. King became a Rivers family companion, his words echoing the teachable moments Glenn’s father imparted to him. Grady Rivers played King’s speeches on the family record player over and over again, his booming voice literally weaving itself into the family narrative.
“Naturally, as a young kid you are curious,” Rivers says. “Dr. King became an extremely important part of my life. He became our Gandhi, in many ways.”
Austin says the persistent violence in Chicago crushes his father. His old neighborhood might be worse than that day in 1968, when Grady spoke to Glenn about Dr. King in his patrol car.
“We used to go there every summer,” Austin says. “We’d visit friends and go to family reunions. We don’t go anymore because of the violence.”
Austin is surprised when people dismiss the idea that race is an ongoing concern.
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Elite Mens Mika Zibanejad Jersey “People like to say, ‘The past is the past,'” Austin says. “They say, ‘Oh, the racial stuff is over with.’ But it’s not. We’re still behind. We started so late. Take any race and put them through what African-Americans have had to deal with, and it’s going to take time.”
Doc Rivers says the movement for racial equality deteriorates into moments where it’s one step forward, then one step back.
“But never two steps back,” he says. “So that’s something. My own personal feeling is, we can’t get frustrated. We can’t stop working and teaching.