Buttermilk Bottom Neighborhood

My Father's Store

"Dr. King walked in one afternoon to his store..."

"Buttermilk Bottom was a, a ghetto area. So, totally, you know, a black area. Dilapidated buildings. I remember one day--my dad was telling me that this young kid came into the store and tried to steal some food. My dad stopped him and asked him why he was stealing. The kid said he was hungry. So my dad told him, “If you’re hungry, you don’t have to steal. Just ask me. I’ll be more than happy to make you a sandwich. You know, whatever you need."

Dr. King walked in one afternoon to his store. It was Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King of course was a pastor. Just about four and a half, five blocks south of the store. Dr. King walked in and introduced himself.

Dr. King, I guess, learned of my dad’s reputation of what he was doing. I’ll be vain and say my dad was so loved by the community. It was just a sight to see-- how the people just flocked to him. He never had any incidents. He was there from 1952 to 1969, and never in that time did anybody try to rob him. Dr. King came in, introduced himself, and they had long discussions. Dr. King asked a lot of questions of my dad, and they had discussions about human rights and about what my dad went through. Sometimes I would sit in the corner and listen to their conversations..."