May 23, 2016

Welcome to the LifeTrain Radio Station

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 5:01 am

Welcome Aboard!   Listen  |  Read  |  Read  |  Listen


One second…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:13 am

All Aboard!  Hey passengers let’s keep it light today…let’s have a fun ride!

Did you know that each day consists of 86,400 seconds?  Each one containing countless options, possibilities, and decisions, of which only one can emerge. 86,400 seconds.

This is one of them. Enjoy the ride…

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All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!


April 19, 2016

Does Art Imitate Reality?

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:12 am

If you ever watch old episodes of the original Start Trek You’d be amazed to see some of the things that were then art, television prop art that are now our reality.  Amazing…

Knowledge is power...

Knowledge is power…

In that same vain, an author by the name of Aldous Huxley wrote the book Brave New World in 1931.  I have surmised that If you had read the book [1930] then, you may have seen it as a clear example of science fiction.  The reality he was describing could clearly never happen in the real world.  Or at least not in the foreseeable future. But if you read the book today, and had no idea when it was originally published, it would raise the classic question as to whether art imitates reality or vice versa.  I’ll leave that question unanswered, but I’d recommend to anyone who hasn’t read that book to get their hands on a copy as soon as possible. It will probably scare you, but it’s well worth the time.

For more background on the book try here: CLICK


March 15, 2016

“When the Table Turns” – Legally Speaking” w/ Attorney Ewing Carter III

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:34 am

All Aboard!  Welcome aboard…Glad to see you on board.  As is customary as I help you up onto the Train I hand you a white business card with black raised lettering.  On the front it reads:

“Care giving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.”

and on the back it reads:

“Care-giving will never be one-size-fits-all.”

I’m advising you to go back to the legal car here on the train for another session with The Attorney, Ewing Carter III.  Also, hit the radio button in the upper right portion of the train to enjoy some music as you  ride (read this article).

Can you believe that Thanksgiving and the holiday season is upon us?  I pray that we will have the opportunity to get together again. While we are all in one place this might be a good time to

Legally Speaking: Elder care...

Legally Speaking: Elder care…

have that tough conversation many of us are facing.  Those of you facing elder care issues will be especially interested in today’s conversation   So, with no further ado let’s head back to the Law car and pick Mr. Carter’s brain.

Enjoy the LifeTrain Radio while you peruse this and other “blog” articles!

Chuckie:  Attorney Carter!  Greetings Sir!
EC III:  Hey Chuckie, come on in and sit a spell.

Chuckie:  Sir, our passengers really want to know, who was one of the baddest football players ever to come out of Springfield South High School?

EC III:  Me.

Chuckie:  GONG!  Wrong answer.  I’ll give you another try.  Who was the Captain of your senior year football team.
EC II:  Look man, “you” …Ok?  Now what is the question, I’m sure the passenger’s time is just as valuable as mine.


Chuckie:  Ok, OK, you lawyers and money.

Chuckie:  Today’s question chosen of a great many good questions from our loyal passengers is this:  My elderly mother is confined to a wheelchair and can’t get around. I’m

the only one who helps her. My brothers live in another state and have their own lives with their families.  Can I get something from the court that allows me to take care of her daily needs?  I’m fearful that she’s beginning to lose her memory.  What can I do?

EC III:  If your mother is of “sound mind” which means that her faculties of perception and judgment are not impaired by any mental disorder, then, executing a Power of Attorney would be

helpful in this situation.  Because your mother’s mobility is limited, your acting as her attorney- in- fact will enable her to transact her business by and through you.  In most cases a General

Durable Power of Attorney is preferred because it remains in effect until revoked and canceled by a subsequent instrument in writing.  Also, this power of attorney does not terminate upon disability, incompetence, or incapacity.  Basically, your mother’s power of attorney giving you authority to act in her stead is enforceable until her death, or until she revokes it.

However, if your mother now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or any associated form of dementia, then she Does not possess the capacity to give power of attorney.  Your mother’s primary physician can provide you an Opinion Letter concerning her mental capacity.  Once you have the letter, you should file a petition to find her incompetent by the Courts.  Once the Petition is filed and a Hearing scheduled, a determination of competency will be made by the Clerk of Courts.  If and when, she is adjudicated incompetent, the Courts will: 1) appoint someone as Guardian of her Person, and 2) appoint someone Guardian of her Estate.  This can be the same person or entity, or two different persons or entities.  The Guardian of the Person makes decisions concerning health care, housing, daily activities, etc. The Guardian of the Estate makes all financial decisions concerning the person.  As always mentioned, consult with an attorney in your locale for specific advice.   I hope that helps.

Chuckie:  Thanks Attorney Carter, good stuff…as usual.  Passengers, for more on this debilitating disease check out my upcoming article with Dr. Dee PhD.
Chuckie:  You know Mr. Carter, this was another great session.  I’ve now figured out that you are a much better lawyer than a football player.
EC III:  Yep…and you are a much better water boy than golfer.

Chuckie:  See you on the links dude!  And now passengers, for your favorite part of “Legally Speaking!”

You can learn more about Attorney Carter at the:


February 23, 2016

Two Things: Neva Give Up & Refuse to Be Bitter…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:55 am

All Aboard!  Welcome passengers…welcome back aboard the LifeTrain.  As you board, here’s one of those black and white business cards I like to hand you as I help you up the steps onto the train for today’s ride.  It reads:



Today on the LifeTrain we have a guess speaker to help get our week kicked off to a great start.  I asked Pastor Warren to give us a word of encouragement to help us sail through the week.  Remember, anytime life throws a curve at you this week…pull that card from above out and “BE HAPPY!”.

Don’t Give Up: Refuse to Be Bitter

by Rick Warrenrws

“Job said, ‘I came naked from my mother’s womb and I shall have nothing when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and they were his to take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!’ In all of this Job did not sin by blaming God.” (Job 1:21-22 LB)

Grief is a part of life, but you can’t let a season of grief turn into a lifestyle of grief.

At some point you have to let it go!

There is a difference between mourning and moaning, weeping and wallowing. A loss can deepen me, but that doesn’t mean it can define me. A loss is a part of my maturity but not my identity.

God gives you grace to get through what you’re going through. Others don’t get that grace, so they may give you bad advice!

“Job’s wife said to him, ‘Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’ But Job replied, ‘You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything j1bad?’ So in all this, Job said nothing wrong” (Job 2:9-10 NLT).

Job refused to become bitter and resentful. Bitterness prolongs pain. It doesn’t relieve it; it only reinforces it. “Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you … it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives” (Hebrews 12:15 LB).

Job gives three steps in refocusing:

1. Put your heart right. That means you forgive. “But I can’t forgive!” you say. That’s why you need Christ in your life; he’ll give you the power to forgive.

2. Reach out to God. Ask him to come into your heart and heal those wounds and help you and give you strength and power for tomorrow, next week, next month.

3. Face the world again, firm and courageous. Many people, when they’re hurt, withdraw into a shell. They say, “I’ll never let anybody hurt me again!” They retire from life. Job says to do the exact opposite: Resume your life; don’t retire from it. Get back out there in the world.

There’s a happy ending to Job’s life. “The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than he had blessed the first” (Job 42:12a GNT). Job went through all this hurt, but, in spite of that, God blessed the last part of his life even more than he had the first.

Wouldn’t you like the same in your life? Say, “God, I don’t care whether I have five years or 50 years left. Would you bless the last part of my life more than the first part?”

The lesson of Job’s life is this: It doesn’t matter who’s hurt you or how long you’ve been hurt or how deeply you’ve been hurt. God can make the rest of your life the best of your life if you’re willing to forgive and let go of resentment and release the offender.mm2

Talk About It

  • In grief, why do you think it’s easier for us to draw into ourselves rather than be with the people who will help us move forward?
  • What do you want God to help you accomplish in the rest of your life? What do you need to let go of so that he can work fully through you?


Well Passengers…a good word From Pastor Rick eh?  Merry Monday guys and…

ALL ABOARD!!!  The LifeTrain!!!


February 16, 2016

The Mindful Mind…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 4:41 am

Hey Passengers, All Aboard!  Here’s a business card as I help you up into the car.  It reads:

 “I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Hey passengers, I thought the quote above was appropriate for today’s post…After your ride today I think you’ll feel the same.


I was thinking as I mused over this post, my (our) mind is a funny thing. On the one hand, it’s awesome. But on the other, it can pulverize us more quickly and ruthlessly than anything else.

Our mind is inherently scared. That’s its job, to be cautious; to keep us alive, to have us cross roads safely, and not get eaten by a lion. But left unchecked, it can become paralyzed with fear and meaner than a cornered crocodile.

And it’s incredibly bossy.

The tendency of the mind to want to control is so strong and so habitual that we often don’t realize the myriad of times it tries to push our inner wisdom and natural sense of ease and love aside.tht

The bad news is there is no book or course that will change the nature of our mind; the good news—we don’t have to. The problem isn’t our mind, but how we use it.

We feel anxious, fearful, sad, or resentful when we give our mind too much power, when we follow all of its dopey ideas against our better judgment.

Here’s how I spot when my mind is trying to take over.  Hope it helps you as well.

1. When you ignore your natural inclination.

Your mind is smart. Not wise smart, but computer smart.  Your mind isn’t into all that woolly intuition jazz. It wants facts. It likes making calculations. Running the odds.  Say you have a thought to call a friend you haven’t thought of in years. But then your mind says, “Don’t be silly. She’s probably not home. She won’t remember me.”

So you don’t call.

mmanBut have you ever followed one of those inclinations and then looked back and seen, wow, look at everything that happened after?  And what about decisions like what to do with your life?  The logical way is listen to experts or copy what works for other people. Your mind loves this.

This is why we ignore the little voice that says, “You should be a writer,” and choose instead to study statistics, because there are plenty of jobs for statisticians. Or we train to be a dancer because we’re “good at that.  ”Except you aren’t “other people.” And experts aren’t as expert about you as you are. And just because you’re “good at something” doesn’t mean it’s what you want to do.

2. When you want to say “no” but you end up saying “yes.”

Do you have trouble saying “no”?

I used to.  I didn’t even see it as a serious option until I hit my late forties.  It was messy.  I thought there were rules more important than my deep desire not to do something.  Rules like be a good friend, be a good employee, go to lots of parties I didn’t want to go.  Kiss the right butt, shake the right hands and laugh at jokes that didn’t come close to being funny.

This is, of course, a total mind thing. Your mind wants to be liked and it thinks everything is important.  Your mind doesn’t realize that saying “no” isn’t a big deal, or even a medium deal. Or that your intuition is where wisdom lies.  Not only is it your right to do as you genuinely desire, but it benefits everyone when you do.  Awhile back I read “An Angel at My Table”, based on the autobiography of Janet Frame, one of New Zealand’s favorite authors. Janet spent eight years in a psychiatric hospital, had two hundred electroshock treatments, and narrowly escaped a lobotomy only to learn years later that she wasn’t unwell; she just didn’t like being very social, and if she did what she felt like she was fine.

3. When you constantly text or check your phone or email, or Facebook status.

I love the Internet and email and reading comments on my blog. Just love it. What an awesome world we live in.  But often I feel off balance because of it. Or rather, because of how I use it.  And it’s not like I don’t know why I get so hooked on it. I do. I’m looking for approval.sdth

The need for approval goes deep. Not only is it a natural trait of the mind, it’s entrenched by our schooling system.  But it’s dangerous. It keeps you distracted from the present moment and trains you to care when people disapprove. Which they will.  The modern hyper-connected world is addictive. To the mind it’s like candy.

So what’s the answer? Give it all up?

Personally, heck no. But setting limits and removing temptation keeps things in check.

4. When you think, “It’s all very well for them.”

Have you ever heard an inspirational story and thought, “It’s all very well for him, he came from a rowing family. It’s easy for him to row the Northwest Passage.”  You see it all the time and it’s a classic case of your mind resisting change, worried you’ll want to make some leap of your own.  Take Elizabeth Gilbert and her book, Eat, Pray, Love.

It wasn’t a story about traveling around the world. Not really. It was about survival and courage and how one woman used the resources she had to save herself.

dgjThinking, as a few did, that it’s all very well for her she could afford to travel around the world is missing the point.

We all have the ability to get up off our metaphorical bathroom floor. And we all have our own unique set of resources to help us. When your mind is quickly dismissive and judgmental, it’s trying to stop you from seeing this.

5. When you think repetitive, worrying thoughts.

Getting OCD about washing your hands, turning off the stove, or locking the door before you leave is your safety-officer mind working overtime.  While the worry feels real and overwhelming, there’s no reality to it.  Don’t be pushed around by your mind. Thank your mind but tell it you’ll take it from here. Allow one double-check or hand wash. Now leave.  The trick is ignoring the unpleasant thoughts while knowing a bunch of more pleasant ones will be along shortly.

6. When you try and control someone else.

Have you ever thought you knew better than someone else and tried to get them to do things your way?  Just like dozens of times a day, right?  Your mind is certain you have to intervene. You don’t. Your mind thinks it knows best. It doesn’t.  Trying to control other people, in small and big matters, is not only annoying and disrespectful; it stops the flow of life. You miss out.  I don’t know how many times I’ve experienced a profound and unexpected pleasure after I’ve ignored the urge to butt in.

7. When you feel inadequate for being “too negative.”

We’re inundated with messages telling us we should be grateful and positive and the like. They’re well meaning, but ultimatelyjhg unhelpful.  Because here’s the catch.  Your mind regards these ideas as rules and is critical when you fail, as you invariably will. Because seriously, who’s positive or grateful all the time?  A few years ago I had to tell a friend she was a negative person.

Her response: “Okay, so how do I change that.”

“You don’t,”  I said, “You probably won’t always be this way. It’s just how you are right now.”  Whenever you feel inadequate, this is your mind pushing you to “follow the rules.” It’s well intentioned, but misguided.  Accepting how you are, no matter how you are, is the most loving and genuinely positive thing you can do.  And yes, this applies to when you’re being controlling.  It’s your mind’s nature to seek control. It’s neither a good or bad thing, it just is. Sometimes you’ll succumb, other times you won’t. And it’s all perfectly okay…

It’s all ok…

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!

February 9, 2016

The Gingham Dress…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 3:00 am

All Aboard!  Welcome fellow passengers.  This week on the  LifeTrain a friendly reminder that all are important, despite the clothes we wear …or the skin we wear.  Red, Yellow, Black and White…Jesus loves the little children of the world!

Judge not...

Judge not…

Anyway, when I came across this story…it made me reminisce and laugh because I was in a slightly similar situation MANY years ago.  I was the manager of a rather large data center in the DC earlier in my carer.  We decided to outsource the maintenance of our mainframes.  We had approximately 50 mainframes so this was a very large multimillion dollar data center.  Anyway my assistant (Ron) and I flew to New jersey after he had narrowed down what he thought were some businesses that could handle our account.  After Ron researched some viable options.  We decided to make site visits to make sure the companies were truly large enough to handle an account of our magnitude.

Once we landed at our first site visit there was a party of the company’s officials at the airport (we really were a big account to be wooed) and they were immediately all over Ron.  I might add that we had never met face to face with these guys, but we did do a teleconference prior to screen a bit so they did know my name.  Oh…and I must sheepishly add that Ron is white…and hold on a minute…lemme check…yep, I am black.  Anyway, they were all over Ron and basically ignored me.  After awhile that became more and more obvious.  I was cracking up inside and it was all I could do to keep a straight face.   Well, we get through lunch, tour, meetings..and meetings and right before the limo back to the airport the question was asked, so Ron, do we get the account.  Ron looked at me, kinda turned red and said “Look guys,” “Chuckie’s the decision maker”, “we’ll have to get back to you…”.  I guarantee you, …the stunned looks we got as we bid a due and boarded the Limo were more than worth the price of admission.  True story and so is the following…Oh and of course…don’t judge a book by its cover…
A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a Homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston , and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President’s outer office.  The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge

‘We’d like to see the president,’ the man said softly. ‘He’ll be busy all day,’ the secretary snapped. ‘We’ll wait,’ the lady replied.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

‘Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,’ she said to him!

He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, ‘We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.’

lessons learnt

lessons learnt

The president wasn’t touched. He was shocked. ‘Madam,’ he said, gruffly, ‘we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.’

‘Oh, no,’ the lady explained quickly. ‘We don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.’

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, ‘A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.’

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now.

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, ‘Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own?’

Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto , California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University , a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.

February 8, 2016

About change…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:00 am

Welcome aboard the LifeTrain.  Today I would like to share a reminder that as long as we have breath in our bodies we are going to have to deal with constant change.  So, keep the following in

Move with the Cheese...

Move with the Cheese…

mind as you journey down this track..called “Life”.

Research has shown that those who are happiest in old age are the ones who have dealt most successfully with the changes in their lives. Learning to accept and adapt to change is the skill of a lifetime.

Here’s a book that could potentially help you with change.  It certainly has come in handy for me.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

~Charles Darwin

January 19, 2016

What “The Wizard of Oz” Taught Me About Life

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 4:38 pm

Hey Passengers welcome back aboard!  So glad you are riding.

I don’t like slash and gore movies but, I do like some rather odd movies for a guy my age like the Wizard of Oz and Ratatouille.  They teach me lessons.  Movies like Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, The Road to Perdition and the Bucket List all have golden nuggets of wisdom in them if you look close enough.

Today dear passengers, let’s look at my take on The Wizard of Oz. It [movie] has also taught me personally some unforgettable lessons about life.


Accept your friends for who they are



A true friend will help you on your life’s journey and get you through all the problems—big

and small—that may arise. So accept your friends, quirks and all, and recognize when they need

a little help too. Because you never know when you’ll need them around to rescue you from some

flying monkeys.


Follow Your Own Yellow Brick Road


The Yellow Brick road. Decisions...

The Yellow Brick road. Decisions…

Although Glinda the Good Witch directs Dorothy to the yellow brick road, explaining that it

will lead her to the one person who can get her back home to Kansas, let’s face it: Dorothy probably

could have found the road on her own. It was right there in front of her. Discover your own path in

life—what you want to be, where you want to go, how you want to live–and be sure to sing and skip

throughout the journey.


Don’t hide your true self behind a screen


One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when we discover the Wizard is just a man. He has

no magical powers. He doesn’t even have a booming voice. The lesson? Don’t try to be something

you’re not, because the people who matter in this life will love you no matter what.


There’s no place like home

Lessons learned....

Lessons learned….

Although it should go without saying, home means more than just your house or apartment.

It’s wherever the people you love—and who love you—are found. You can have many different

“homes,” and even if you haven’t visited in a while, you can always go back.


Look within for your power


We all remember the scene where Dorothy misses her balloon flight home, starts to cry, and

is subsequently notified by Glinda that with those fancy ruby slippers, she had the power to

return home the whole time; she just needed to discover it for herself. When in doubt,

look within for the answer. You’re more powerful than you think.


Allow Yourself to Dream!


Whether you want a better home, a more exciting job, or a new love, allow yourself to take a moment

from your busy life to look over the rainbow and visualize future possibilities. This could really

inspire you to start turning the dream into reality


Running Away Is Never the Answer


Sure, that mean Miss Gultch threatened to take Toto away after he snapped at her. But if Dorothy had

not run away, she probably wouldn’t have gotten caught up in that tornado mess. Confronting your

problems and figuring out a solution (with a little help from your friends or family) will help you

feel better about yourself and allow you to sleep at night. You won’t even need a poppy field.


Don’t Give Up Your Principles (or Your Ruby Slippers)

Ruby Red

Ruby Red

Dorothy knew giving her ruby slippers to the Wicked Witch would only lead to trouble.

(The sparks that flew when the Witch tried to take them from her might have been an indication.)

So when someone tries to make you do something you know in your heart isn’t right, stand firm and

stay true to yourself.


Believe in Good and Good Things Will Happen


Wonder what would have happened had Dorothy chosen to follow the Wicked Witch instead of Glinda?

Probably nothing good. Dorothy chose to follow the Good Witch and was helped along her journey.

Being positive and believing in good will make it easier for good things to happen in your life.


The Solution Might Be Right Under Your Nose

lessons learnt

lessons learned…

The answer to Dorothy’s problem getting home was literally under her nose the entire time–on

her feet to be precise. When you’ve racked your brain for a fix to your own problem (big or small)

and still don’t have a solution, try stepping away from it for a minute to clear your mind.

Tackling your troubles with a clear head may help you find the simple answers that are right in front

of you.
I hope some of my observations might be of some help to you one day.

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ALL ABOARD!  The LifeTrain!

January 17, 2016

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Remembered

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 1:01 am

He gave his life, so that I could vote….in America, eat at lunch counters…in America, walk into the front door of Malls…in America, sit anywhere there is an open seat in the public transit system…in America. I am a Christian, black man born …in America and most of all, I call myself, what I am, an American!  I was born in America (not Africa). Thank you Dr. King!

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Although Dr. King’s name was mistakenly recorded as “Michael King” on his birth certificate, this was not discovered until 1934, when his father applied for a passport. He had an older sister, Willie Christine (September 11, 1927) and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel (July 30, 1930 – July 1, 1969). King sang with his church choir at the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind. He entered Morehouse College at age fifteen, skipping his ninth and twelfth high school grades without formally graduating. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) degree in 1951. In September 1951, King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) on June 5, 1955 (but see the Plagiarism section for controversy regarding this degree).

In 1953, at age 24, King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. On December 1,
1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to comply with the Jim Crow laws that required her to give up her seat to a white man. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, urged and planned by E. D. Nixonml2 (head of the Montgomery NAACP chapter and a member of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters) and led by King, soon followed. (In March 1955, a 15 year old school girl, Claudette Colvin, suffered the same fate, but King did not become involved.) The boycott lasted for 381 days, the situation becoming so tense that King’s house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which ended with a United States Supreme Court decision outlawing racial segregation on all public transport.

King was instrumental in the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, a group created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests in the service of civil rights reform. King continued to dominate the organization. King was an adherent of the philosophies of nonviolent civil disobedience as described in Henry David Thoreau’s essay of the same name, and used successfully in India by Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi. King applied this philosophy to the protests organized by the SCLC. In 1959, he wrote The Measure of A Man, from which the piece What is Man?, an attempt to sketch the optimal political, social, and economic structure of society, is derived.

be0205643Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s success with non-violent activism, he visited the Gandhi family in India in 1959, with assistance from the Quaker group the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The trip to India affected King in a profound way, deepening his understanding of nonviolent resistance and his commitment to America’s struggle for civil rights. In a radio address made during his final evening in India, King reflected, “Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.”

The FBI began wiretapping King in 1961, fearing that Communists were trying to infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, but when no such evidence emerged, the bureau used the incidental details caught on tape over six years in attempts to force King out of the preeminent leadership position.

King correctly recognized that organized, nonviolent protest against the system of southern segregation known as Jim Crow laws would lead to extensive media coverage of the struggle for black equality and voting rights. Journalistic accounts and televised footage of the daily deprivation and indignities suffered by southern blacks, and of segregationist violence and harassment of civil rights workers and marchers, produced a wave of sympathetic public opinion that made the Civil Rights Movement the single most important issue in American politics in the early 1960s.

King organized and led marches for blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labor rights and other basic civil rights. Most of these rights were successfully enacted into United States law with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

King and the SCLC applied the principles of nonviolent protest with great success by strategically choosing the method of protest and the places in which protests were carried out in often dramatic stand-offs with segregationist authorities. Sometimes these confrontations turned violent. King and the SCLC were instrumental in the unsuccessful Albany Movement in Albany, Georgia, in 1961 and 1962, where divisions within the black community and the canny, low-key response by local government defeated efforts; in the Birmingham protests in the summer of 1963; and in the protest in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964. King and the SCLC joined forces with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, Alabama, in December 1964, where SNCC had been working on voter registration for several months.

King, representing SCLC, was among the leaders of the so-called “Big Six” civil rights organizations who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The other leaders and organizations comprising the Big Six were: Roy Wilkins, NAACP; Whitney Young, Jr., Urban League; A. Philip Randolph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; John Lewis, SNCC; and James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The primary logistical and strategic organizer was King’s colleague Bayard Rustin. For King, this role was another which courted controversy, since he was one of the key figures who acceded to the wishes of President John F. Kennedy in changing the focus of the march. Kennedy initially opposed the march outright, because he was concerned it would negatively impact the drive for passage of civil rights legislation, but the organizers were firm that the march would proceed.

In late March 1968, King went to Memphis, Tennessee in support of the black sanitary public works employees, represented by AFSCME Local 1733, who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. (For example, African American workers, unlike white workers, were not paid when sent home because of inclement weather.)

On April 3, King returned to Memphis and addressed a rally, delivering his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” address at Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ, Inc. – World Headquarters). King’s flight to Memphis had been delayed by a bomb threat against his plane. In the close of the last speech of his career, in reference to the bomb threat, King said the following:
“ And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. ”

King was booked in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel, owned by Walter Bailey, in Memphis. Reverend Ralph Abernathy, King’s close friend and colleague who was present at the assassination, swore under oath to the HSCA that King and his entourage stayed at room 306 at the Lorraine Motel so often it was known as the ‘King-Abernathy suite.’ While standing on the motel’s 2nd floor balcony, King was shot at 6:01 p.m. April 4, 1968. The bullet entered through his right cheek smashing his jaw and then traveling down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder. According to biographer Taylor Branch, King’s last words on the balcony were to musician Ben Branch (no relation to Taylor Branch) who was scheduled to perform that night at an event King was attending: “Ben, make sure you play Take My Hand, Precious Lord in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.” Friends inside the motel room heard the shots and ran to the balcony to find King on the ground. Local Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, whose house King was on his way to, remembers that upon seeing King go down he ran into a hotel room to call an ambulance. Nobody was on the switchboard, so Kyles ran back out and yelled to the police to get one on their radios. It was later revealed that the hotel switchboard operator, upon seeing King shot, had had a fatal heart attack and could not operate the phones. King was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital at 7:05 p.m. The assassination led to a nationwide wave of riots in more than 60 cities.

Five days later, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a national day of mourning for the lost civil rights leader. A crowd of 300,000 attended his funeral that same day. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey attended on behalf of Lyndon B. Johnson, who was holding a meeting on the Vietnam War at Camp David. (There were fears that Johnson might be hit with protests and abuses over the war if he attended.) At his widow’s request, King eulogized himself: his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, a recording of his famous ‘Drum Major’ sermon, given on February 4, 1968, was played at the funeral. In that sermon he makes a request that at his funeral no mention of his awards and honors be made, but that it be said that he tried to “feed the hungry”, “clothe the naked”, “be right on the [Vietnam] war question”, and “love and serve humanity”. Per King’s request, his good friend Mahalia Jackson sang his favorite hymn, “Take My hand, Precious Lord” at his funeral.