King’s Death Took Her Sense of Safety

Frank Williams, left, his seated mother, Dorothy, and his wife, Doretha, stand together near the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. Photo by Clint Confehr

By Clint Confehr

MEMPHIS, TN — Among thousands visiting the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel this week was a woman who didn’t feel safe in her hometown after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

Dorothy Castle, 76, was at home watching the local 6 o’ clock news that April 4th, now 50 years ago. It wasn’t the top story at first. The shooting was at 6:01 p.m., but soon, “They said he’d just got shot …

“I was hurt, disgusted and readjusted,” Castle said. “I was out of it for a while. I couldn’t believe it. It took me a whole day and a half to get my senses back. I kind of moped around the house and fixed dinner and watched the news.”

Dr. King’s assassination changed her life.

“It made me more aware of my surroundings,” she said, concluding, “There’s murder everywhere.”

She didn’t feel safe anymore. Mrs. Castle was living in Lakeview Gardens at Melrose Cove.

She remembers Dr. King as a person who was outgoing and a master of public speaking.

Mrs. Castle’s son, Frank Williams Jr., said his mother took her family to the museum at the Lorraine Motel more than twice.

“When she brought us here, she wanted us to know he was a drum major for peace; that he was a Civil Rights activist who fought for equality.”

They had already seen the room where King had been staying.

“At that point,” Williams said of an early visit to the Lorraine, “I think we actually went in the room.”

Williams, his wife, Doretha, and his mother say they appreciate the quality of life they have because of Dr. King.

 

 

 

 

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