Monday, January 18, 2016
REQUIEM FOR THREE WINE TASTERS
Dr. King With An Old Enemy
By Doc Lawrence
ATLANTA-It’s one of the most fascinating stories I’ve been given. Imagine a chance meeting between a global figure, a champion of human rights, and a racist former governor of Georgia at a wine store near the state capital building in Atlanta. And all this during the heyday of segregation on the eve of the civil rights revolution. Add into this the presence of a Pulitzer-Prize winning newspaper editor and the host, wine shop owner who would become the father of fine wines in the South.
Long ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., walked into Sanders Wines in Atlanta to find a good bottle for dinner at home to celebrate his anniversary. Already there was former governor Marvin Griffin, a very public adversary and outspoken critic of King and Ralph McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution (now AJC.) Jim Sanders told the story in a manuscript he gave me just prior to his death in 1999.
Sanders, who had a Master’s in English from Emory University, was a friend of McGill and Griffin, and had a small room in the rear of his wine shop where a select few would be invited to sit, talk and sip, a tradition Sanders maintained without interruption until his death. Dr. King would soon join in the wine enjoyment and conversation.
After a glass or two of fine Burgundy, tension was replaced with storytelling and good humor.
The earth trembled.
I broadcast this on my radio show based completely on Sanders’ transcript, keeping the title, “Requiem for Three Wine Tasters” which you can enjoy (Youtube or iTunes).