Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dr. King-Requiem for a Wine Taster

 By Doc Lawrence

It’s one of the most fascinating stories about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Imagine a chance meeting between a global 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 the presence of a Pulitzer-Prize winning newspaper editor and the host, a progressive, well-educated wine shop owner who would become the father of fine wines in the South.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. walked into Sanders Wines to buy a good bottle of wine to celebrate his marriage anniversary dinner at home. Already there was former governor Marvin Griffin, a highly public adversary and outspoken critic of King and Ralph McGill, editor of The Atlanta Constitution (now AJC). Jim Sanders preserved the story in a copyrighted manuscript he gave me just prior to his death in 1999.

Sanders, who earned a Master’s in English from Emory University, had a small room in the rear of his wine shop where a select few would be invited to sit, talk, sip and eat, 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 French Burgundy, tensions dissolved, replaced with good-humored storytelling.

Here is my radio broadcast and podcast based entirely on Sanders’ spellbinding manuscript, “Requiem for Three Wine Tasters” which you can enjoy:

Listen and feel the earth tremble.

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