Subject’s name: Juan Bravo Relationship: Grandfather
Topic Discussed: Assassination of Martin Luther King
Q: How old were you at the time of the assassination of Martin Luther King and where were you living?
A:: I was 18 years old at the time and I was living in New York City with both my parents.
Q: Do you remember what you were doing at the time of the assassination?
A:: Yes, I remembered I had just gotten home from hanging out with my friends and my mother called me to come and eat dinner. We had the television in front of us while we were eating and then we received breaking news at around 7 pm that Martin Luther King had been shot and killed.
Q: What was your reaction to the death of Martin Luther King?
A:: I remember sitting there in disbelief. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe he had died so unexpectedly. I suddenly lost my appetite and couldn’t eat anymore. I was anxious to hear what the news reporters were going to announce next.
Q: How did your parents react to this news?
A:: My parents were very upset and my mother began to cry. She couldn’t believe that such a warm and non violent person could be assassinated.
Q: What about the rest of your family and friends, how did they react?
A:: My sister had initially felt an overwhelming feeling of great loss. My grandparents were shocked and I remember my friends calling my house phone to see if I had heard of the terrible news.
Q: What were you most afraid about what was going to occur because of MLK’s death?
A:: I was fearful that there was going to be many riots occurring because of this tragic event, especially among the African Americans.
Q: When you returned to school was the environment different?
A:: Well returning for school days later, teachers and high school students were all still very mournful of what had happened. I remember entering my 1st period history class and my teacher Mrs. Rocher showed us Martin Luther King’s funeral on television. That day was a very sad one.
Q: Were you aware of how intense the segregation was between blacks and whites at the time?
A:: When I finally got out of that state of denial and accepted that MLK was dead, I realized for the first time how intense the problems were between black people and white people. I knew that there were some bad feelings that existed between blacks and whites but I just did not know how serious they were.
Q: Did anyone you know attend any of his events?
A:: None of my close family ever attended his speeches. We always just stood home and admired and watched what he said on TV. However my uncle who was a big fan of MLK attended his funeral in Atlanta on April 9th 1968.
Q: What were some of your favorite memories of Martin Luther King?
A:: Even though I never met him in person, my most vivid memories of him was when he was smiling. His smile was so kind. He seemed was such a likable and warm hearted person.
Q: How do you celebrate Martin Luther King’s day?
A:: Well usually My family and I have the day off school and work so we all stay home and watch the news. We watch how the people in Tennessee celebrate MLK and then I usually talk to my kids about my experiences during the time of his death.
Q: Do you think civil right leaders like Martin Luther King changed the way we as people live today?
A:: OF COURSE! People like Martin Luther King changed the course of history by trying his hardest to maintain peace and enforce equality between individuals. I’m glad that our society had people like MLK to stand up for they believed in. And although Martin Luther King is dead, we still hear King's call for a just society, and his grand vision of a prejudice-free nation remains the greatest of all...