Garth Reeves, the publisher of Miami’s leading black newspaper, could scarcely believe his ears. So, during a break in the workshop on organizing non-violent civil-rights protests, he approached the speaker. “Do you really believe what you’re preaching out there?” he demanded. “Even if somebody came up and spit in your face, you wouldn’t do anything about it?”
“If somebody spat in my face, that wouldn’t kill me,” replied the speaker, a young Alabama minister named Martin Luther King Jr. Reeves was still skeptical, and his face showed it. “Don’t you believe what I’m telling you?” King continued, softly but urgently. “Not altogether,” Reeves said, and walked away. But the longer he thought about that exchange, the more Reeves thought that the preacher might be onto something.
The encounter between Reeves and the man who would soon become the most influential leader of the civil-rights movement is just one of the poignant snapshots in Martin Luther King Jr.: Footprints Through Florida, a WLRN-PBS 17 documentary airing just in time for what would have been King’s 82nd birthday on Saturday. Read my full review in Thursday's Miami Herald.