Martin Luther King (center) during his 1958 visit to Rochester. Dr. Lunsford is to his left, kneeling. [Photo: Charles Price]
A year ago, in When Martin Luther King was at the home of Charles Lunsford (below), we looked back to an evening in January 1958 when Charles Price took a photograph of Martin Luther King.
Since, Charles continues as vigorous as ever. In 2015 I wrote; “The man [Price] who took the picture is the only one still living.”
Sadly, if not true last year, mostly likely so today. Recently, we lost a Rochester educational treasure Letha Ridley (1911 – 2015) who also was probably in the photograph: woman # 6, fourth from the top right.
Also, another version of the photograph was discovered (at end). And there might yet be some other photographs still recoverable. The hope is to find a reproducible version that can be framed in the entrance lobby of the Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School (No. 19).
And King’s legacy lives on.
Last week in When Obama invokes Martin Luther King, George Payne discussed whether President Obama use of King’s ideas in his State of the Union address was appropriate for a speech praising America’s military supremacy.
And on Saturday was the MLK Conference on Finding Solutions (sponsored by the United Christian Leadership Ministry) held at the at the Wilson Foundation Academy on Genesee Street. Anti-violence event harnesses spirit of Rev. King (D & C)
When Martin Luther King was at the home of Charles Lunsford
• January 18, 2015
The man who took the photograph [featured picture above] is the only one still living.
On January 7th, 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Rochester to speak at the Rochester City Club and the Colgate Divinity School. That evening he was invited to a private reception at the home of Dr. Charles T. Lunsford, Rochester’s first known licensed African-American physician. Accompanying King was Rochester Police Officer Charles Price who served as his bodyguard. Ten years earlier Price had become the first African-American police officer in the RPD.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Price in his Henrietta home. Price, now in his 90′s, greeted me with vigor — actually in his Buffalo Soldier uniform on his way to, yes, Buffalo for a reenactment. There Price showed me a copy of the original photograph which he had taken (the negative, unfortunately, lost).
Price explained that Lunsford had invited the most prominent members of the Rochester black middle class for a reception following King’s talk. One by one he recalled the participants, all of whom are gone, as would be King only ten years later.
I asked Price how he thought race relations had changed since 1958 when King inspired Rochester and the nation. Some things are better, he brightened. Then, more halting, some things are worse.
He’s right, of course. Since 1958 Rochester has seen African-American Mayors, Police Chiefs, School Principals and Superintendents. And School # 19 is named for Dr. Lunsford. And people like Price are more than welcome in towns like Henrietta.
On the reverse, segregated schools. And perpetual urban poverty.
King visited Rochester once more in 1962.