King is excited.
Parked in front of room is a light blue Cadillac convertible with Kentucky tags. His brother A. King's travels have taken him with greater frequency of late. It was there, last May, he grew close to one of A. They are lovers. And she is here tonight. Georgia M. Davis is the newly elected state senator from Louisville's west end — the first black senator in Kentucky history.
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Her journey to the Lorraine tonight winds through six states and one of history's worst-kept secrets. Just last month, as a rookie senator, she convinced the Kentucky Legislature to pass a landmark fair housing bill. When the session ended she and a friend went on vacation, driving to Fort Walton Beach, Fla. She called Dr. And so she and her friend, Lucretia Ward, joined by A. King, who flew in from Louisville for a couple days on the beach, climbed into Ward's Cadillac convertible the morning of April 3 and drove all day through the Florida panhandle, up Alabama and Mississippi and finally to Memphis.
It's his pet name for her. His interest in her career runs deep. King participated in protests the previous May in Louisville in a failed push for a city open-housing ordinance, an effort that gave rise to Davis' later bill in the Senate. During a tight Democratic primary race, King dispatched staffers into the Louisville projects to boost support for Davis. It's a curious relationship.
She is 44 — five years older than King — short, and light-skinned. She is quick-witted, with soft, dark eyes and a disarming, ready smile. And she is direct about her intentions. Inside Room the group orders coffee and chats into the night. King talks about the riot, the militants, the challenge ahead. It's around 4 when Davis gets up to leave. As she walks under the lighted balcony to her room King follows. Inside Room he throws open his arms. It's nearing 5 a. Maid Sadie McKay is doing her rounds at the New Rebel motel, stripping down the beds of departed guests and changing linens.
Around 9 she knocks on the door of Room It's in the courtroom of Judge Bailey Brown. Kennedy, he is the former law partner of King's attorney, Lucius Burch. But those liberal credentials mean little.
Bailey grumbled from the bench in that some black defendants hide behind civil rights claims to obscure their crimes. And just last year, in the aftermath of wide inner-city unrest, he publicly supported legislation to impose federal criminal penalties against rioters. He's hard to read. The city's first witness is Frank C. He tells the court about last week's riot, describing the looting, the busted store windows, youths with three-foot wooden sticks and others who attacked police with bottles and bricks.
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He reports statements attributed to King at the rally last night at Mason Temple, that he intends to march with or without an injunction. And, he adds, King has met with local militants. Martin Luther King, his leaders or any others cannot control a massive march of this kind in the city or elsewhere, Holloman says.
Back at the Lorraine, King faces more turmoil within his group. Dorothy Cotton is upset. She had waited up for him last night with a snack tray he requested. But as the night wore on, King didn't show up.
He didn't call. Now, she is angry. She is leaving, going back to Atlanta. King hears this and calls her to his room. It is essential in King's campaigns to help assure peaceful protests. Cotton had planned to hold workshops here in anticipation of securing an orderly march through Downtown Memphis, but now she tells King she must prepare for an already scheduled workshop next week in Atlanta.
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Brown gavels his courtroom back into session. The defense's key witness, Rev. James Lawson, takes the stand. Most black people are poor and can't afford advertising, he explains: The mass march is the only format to get their message across. At the Lorraine, King is trying to unwind. He and Abernathy eat lunch, fried catfish piled high on a single platter, with iced tea.
They talk about the march. They agree they must move forward, injunction or no injunction, to restore the integrity of the nonviolent movement. Meeting with staff members, they worry again about the Invaders, about another outbreak of violence.
King goes downstairs to Room where he spends time with his brother A. He is pensive.
As others chat, he lies on his back on a bed. He joins in now and then, but mostly just stares at the ceiling. He brightens when A. The two brothers laugh, tease and reminisce on the phone. This is James Earl Ray's kind of place — a second-story flophouse overtop a row of rundown, street-level shops.
The walls are grimy and the air stale. This morning he was Eric Galt; this afternoon he registers as John Willard. She shows him a room with a window facing west, away from the Lorraine, and he rejects it. In court, Andrew Young takes the stand.