Martin Luther King, Jr.’s inspiring encounter with a German Shepherd police dog will move you
They are two awesomely inspiring photographs – Martin Luther King, Jr. and his moving encounter with the police dog that was supposed to intimidate the Atlanta civil rights icon.
It was June 12, 1964. Dr. King had been arrested in St. Augustine, Florida after testifying before a grand jury investigating racial unrest in the city. King and the SCLC were ordered to leave the city for one month.
At 4:00 a.m., according to Associated Press photo archives, King was placed in the back seat of a police car. And with him, a German Shepherd police dog. While intended to intimidate Dr. King, the dog instead lowered his ears, softened his eyes and appears to lean on King. Many observers said it appeared the pair “became fast friends.”
With a focus on civil and human rights, Dr. King was never known for shepherding animal rights. But his love and compassion for all life likely charted a specific course for his family.
Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow, would continue working with other civil rights icons, including Ralph David Abernathy, who is seen standing outside the police car in the second photo. Mrs. King began advocating for animal rights and would become a vegetarian. King’s second son, Dexter, became a vegan in the late 1980’s, according to published reports. Both were driven by the notion that animals shouldn’t be harmed.
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members,” Mrs. King once said.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.