January 01 2022 12:00 am

Former journalist shares memories of MLK Jr.


One man in Temple has ties to Dr. Martin Luther King. 

73-year-old Roscoe Harrison is a former journalist who has memories of the civil rights leader. April 4, 1968 will be forever etched in his mind. 

At the time, he was a 23-year-old journalist for Jet magazine – a black-owned publication based in Chicago. 

“At that particular time, we were covering just news in general. It was an average news day,” Harrison said.

That is until staff got the devastating news of Dr. King’s assassination. 

“We were shocked. We were shocked,” Harrison said. “Bob Johnson, who was our executive director, who had been a classmate of Dr. King’s at Morehouse College in Atlanta, stood in the middle of our floor. I never will forget it, and cried like a baby.” 

Harrison and other editors had just met the civil rights leader three weeks prior. Even then, Harrison sensed King was troubled about something. 

“At the time that we talked to him, he was engrossed in other thoughts. He was very impessive,” Harrison said.

Jet magazine scrapped it’s previous publication to honor the late Dr. King with another magazine copy, which sold for 25 cents at the time. 

“We made a commitment to do a commemorative issue of Jet magazine, and we had to work all weekend,” Harrison said.

Shortly after, Harrison traveled to Atlanta to cover King’s funeral – where a somber mood hung over the crowd. 

“People were kind of like….they were walking around in a daze,” Harrison said. “People were thinking, ‘Where is the civil rights movement headed now?'” 

Some 50 years later, Harrison is now a pastor at Eighth Street Church in Temple. Life is different for him, and many other people of color, thanks to Dr. King’s sacrifices.  

“We’re able to go anywhere we want to go,” Harrison said. “We can stay in any hotel we want to stay in. We can eat at any restaurant that we can afford.” 

His only hope is that the new generation won’t forget the civil rights activist’s legacy. 

“He was kind of like the black Moses. Moses led the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. He led us out of bondage. He led us out of social bondage. Bondage of discrimination,” Harrison said.

For more about Dr. Martin Luther King, you can tune in to FOX44 at 5:30 p.m. on April 22 for “Remembering the Dream” – a special celebrating the life of the civil rights leader 50 years after his assassination.

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