Interview with Rufus Lewis
QUESTION 16
INTERVIEWER:

THAT WAS A CAMERA ROLL-OUT. WE'RE GOING TO ROLL 125. CAMERA ROLL 125. NOW, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER KING IN 1955 AND WHAT KIND OF MAN HE WAS, AND HOW YOU CAME TO NOMINATE HIM AS HEAD OF MIA.

Rufus Lewis:

What kind of man Martin Luther King was and how I become to nominate for the chairmanship of the MIA. Well, Martin Luther King was a young man. I was quite a bit older than Martin Luther King when he was a pastor, when he became a pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. But Martin Luther King was a forthright man, he—you could, you could feel what he said, as well as hearing what he said. He, he looked like he talked from the heart, and he was sincere about his, his, his sermons, or whatever he was talking about. He was a good man. He was a smart man. He was highly educated, and in that from that background, he was more effective in influencing people than, than anybody we had in the group at that time, and especially for the MIA. Because, here, you need to have somebody who can influence the public, who can influence small groups. And Martin Luther King just was ideal for that sort of thing. That's why I nominated him. That was some others who wanted to be chairman, but they did not have the ability. They didn't—they had the desire, but that was all. But Martin Luther King, as quietly as he was, he had all that was necessary, it seemed to me, to be the chairman. And for that reason, I nominated him first, because I didn't want the whole thing to be cluttered up, with so many others, who didn't have the, the background, and the experience, or the knowledge, in dealing with people.