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Dr. King’s Children Visit Him in Jail

Aug. 5, 1962 - In Albany, Ga., today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received a visit in jail from his three small children (pictured earlier this year at their Atlanta home). They had not seen their father for almost a month because he has been busy with the desegregation campaign in Albany. It was the first time they had called on their father during one of his frequent incarcerations in recent years. “The children have known all along that he was in jail,” said their mother, Mrs. Coretta King. “They knew he was not going to be able to come back with them. They didn’t cry when they left him. They accepted it,” she said. Before the visit, Mrs. King was concerned about the children’s reaction. She said her husband “didn’t want them to see him in the cell.” “So the police let him come out to a shoe-shine stand near the front of the jail,” she reported. After the visit, Mrs. King said her husband was in good spirits. “He looks well. I think he feels much better after seeing the children. It gave him a lift,” she said. Mrs. King said that for the past two years she had explained to her children why their father went to jail. “I said, ‘Daddy’s gone to jail to help the people. They don’t have good homes to live in. They don’t have enough food. Daddy would like all the people to have these things.’ I say, ‘He’s gone to jail to help the people get these things.’ This is all I told them because I didn’t think they’d understand things like freedom.”


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