Just finished reading Michael Dyson’s April 4, 1968 – MLK’s Death and How It Changed America.  It’s a compelling read.  I heard Dyson and his wife on a talk show.  I was so impressed by him that I picked up my computer and Googled him, then ordered this one on Amazon.  This whole Jeremiah Wright dimension of the Obama saga has me curious about the issues emerging in the campaign on the current state of the conversation about race.

Michael Dyson is a Baptist preacher turned sociology professor – I’d love to meet him.  In his book, he details the events leading up to the assassination in Memphis while King and his entourage (which included Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young) stayed at the Lorraine Motel.  About a month after the murder, I traveled on tour with a men’s choir.  We drove past the scene.  I took photos of the motel balcony, and the window from which James Earl Ray fired the fatal shot.  Curiously, the following September, our senior class retreat was held at the Green Lake Baptist Conference Center in Wisconsin.  The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Martin Luther King’s organization, was meeting there the same weekend.  One of our professors (his name was Allan Johnson, as I recall), arranged to have Dr. Ralph Abernathy address our group of about fifty students.  I also took photos of that event.

Now, all these years later, the African American community is celebrating the possibility of one of their own achieving the highest office in the land.  Dyson poses the question – is this the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream?  The answer is compelling.  Dyson is a fine writer, and one of the most articulate conversationalists I’ve heard.  He profiles King, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and a host of other leaders in the black community, including Barak Obama.

The book was completed before the Jeremiah Wright fiasco broke onto the political scene.  I’ll be curious to find Dyson’s perspective on that whole thing as well.