He was a close personal friend of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and played a major role in the movement, retired minister Rev. Harold Middlebrook is still working to share African-American history.
On February 8, Live at Five talked with Rev. Middlebrook who was about to speak to 5th graders at Belle Morris Elementary.
On African-American History:
"History is is "His Story" and America has until recently left out a lot of it's history and it's building and so today I want to remind the youngsters that America must be inclusive and recognize all of it's citizens and recognize the contributions that African-Americans have made."
Martin-Luther King, Jr. Day:
"My hope is that people will come to understand that the Martin Luther King day is not just a day for African-Americans. I hope that we will come together and appreciate the contributions that all have made. One of the things I tell youngsters and adults is that the struggle for equal rights was not just a struggle for African-Americans. Whenever we went in to a community to register people to vote, more whites got registered. Martin King moved to remove the glass ceiling so that women could also be liberated so that people everywhere could be part of the body politic of America."
"My grandparents... every morning read the newspaper, they talked about issues and so early on I was exposed to the body politic to social issues and when Martin King and Rosa Parks were leading in Montgomery, my grandparents talked about it every morning across the breakfast table."
The people he's known:
"I've been fortunate. The Lord has opened doors and I've met people and I'm the richer. I tell people that whenever people recognize me and give me an award it's not really for me..it's for my grandparents, for my mother, for my pastor early on who kept saying 'God's going to send us a leader' and it's for Martin and daddy King and A.D. and all the others. I'm just the recipient of all the blessings that I have received as I came in contact with people."
The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"The real life-changer was in 1968..on April 4..and I have never been the same since that day. A lot of things you used to consider real important, you don't anymore. If I can help someone as I pass along, my living is not in vain."
"I said I was going to retire from pastoring but not retire from telling the story."
Remembering Dr. King:
"There are several people that no day goes by that they don't speak to me..my mother's always there..my grandparents..Martin King and his dad. Daddy King adopted me as one of his sons and so when I was installed as pastor here and then he came back another year to preach for us and we talked almost every other week and yes, the King family is always close by me. I raise a question in anything that I'm involved 'what would Jesus do and what would Martin say?' That helps me keep my direction and focus on where I ought to be."