BUFFALO, NY - On November 9, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brought his message of peace and optimism to a turbulent Buffalo.
The city had become engulfed in race riots just a few months before, and Dr. King's stance against the Vietnam War made him a controversial figure. Jackie Robinson, then serving as Governor Rockefeller's Special Assistant for Urban Affairs, met with Mayor Frank Sedita to try and quell the unrest.
This address, titled: "The Future of Integration," and was presented before an audience of about 2,100. The controversy was evident in the fact that 700 seats remained empty and only three elected leaders turned out.
One was former Common Council president George Arthur. He remembers the optimism in King's message. Arthur says "civil rights not just for those of color, his dream could come true."
The line that he delivered at Kleinhan's Music Hall that still rings true. "We are moving toward the day when we will judge a man by his character and ability instead of by the color of his skin."