“Dr. King – he wasn’t afraid to say the unpopular thing. That’s the test of a true leader. When he went to Birmingham, a lot of the pastors, including African Americans, said don’t come. He came and made history. As a result, everyone was better. When he came out against the Vietnam War, he did the unpopular thing. He led – he didn’t follow, and that’s what Dr. King means to me.”
“Having come back recently from a trip to Vietnam and seeing what people have to go through, it made me appreciate the things that we have in America that people don’t have over there. His fight was for peace and justice, multiculturalism, and open-mindedness. So that, to me, is what he means. Be grateful for what we have here, remember everyone on earth around us, and don’t take too much for granted. The fight is still going on.”
“Well, although we reverence and respect Martin Luther King, we really don’t want to put much emphasis on some of his work. So the only problem with Martin Luther King is not what he did when he was alive. It’s about after he was killed and how many people jumped on board to say they are living his legacy. His family isn’t trying to stand up for his legacy, they are trying to sell it off. It’s so impossible for a young man like me to figure out what his legacy means because it’s been so distorted.”
“I think, finally, some of the dreams of Dr. King are beginning to come to fruition. There is some change finally coming. Not everything is not completed as yet, but I think it’s taking a majoring step in the right direction.”
“Dr. King was a leader, not just for black people, but for everybody. And basically, he wanted freedom and justice for everybody. As a child, I memorized Dr. King’s speeches word for word and my father taught us the message behind the speeches.”
“He gave me so much strength. I was with him a lot in Chicago, and I was brought up to always respect my elders and people who were doing something. That has been with me all my life. Dr. King was very straight-forward. He was honest and upright, and we all followed because we knew he was telling the truth.”
*Verdell Trice was active with the King movement. He once owned a service station on the West Side, and was present at Edna’s Restaurant in East Garfield Park, where Dr. King often ate.