When John O'Bryant walked into the Martin Luther King Room of the Parker House for the Dunfey Family's ninth Circle Dinner, the guests burst into spontaneous applause. O'Bryant had been elected the first black member of the Boston School Committee just two days before.
His electoral victory underscored the theme of Coretta Scott King's remarks after dinner. Martin Luther King's widow pulled a white fringed shawl closer about her shoulders and with a touch of nostalgia reflected on the state of the Civil Rights Movement.
She recalled the early days in the streets; the Selma, Alabama march, the Memphis, Tennessee sanitation workers strike. She acknowledged the changes that have occurred in the nine years since her husband's assassination. Andrew Young, King's deputy, now serves as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations where he "speaks for the people" she noted.
However, the struggle for economic justice for black people lags behind political and social progress she said. And as long as economic opportunity and security remain elusive so will full equality.
By Chris Black (Washington Correspondent, Boston Herald-American)