PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As people around the world remember Dr. King’s legacy so does Trudy Haynes, the first African-American reporter in Philadelphia.
Fifty years to the date – April 4, 1968 – standing on a balcony outside of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
“He had the power to move souls,” said Haynes.
Broadcast pioneer Haynes, then a reporter for KYW, was not on the air when the news of his death broke but remembers how she felt.
“A feeling of absence came over me. What are we going to do now? What’s going to happen now? Why did this happen? There was emptiness,” said Haynes.
Haynes recalls the first time she met the civil rights leader.
“I was on a radio station in Detroit, and he came to a church and that was the first time I saw him in person,” said Haynes. “When we walked in that room, there was a hush. When he opened his mouth, there was complete silence.”
In his presence, the TV personality also found herself unable to speak.
“I had a chance to talk to him, don’t ask me what I said. I was in a trance to be able to touch him and hear his voice. It was overwhelming,” she said.
Dr. King was just 39 years old when he was killed, but his memory, his influence, and his legacy lives on.
“His presence is still here. In fact, I feel like it’s stronger now, than ever,” said Haynes. “I think because the number of things I see dedicated in his memory and now it’s strong.”
As for whether we’ve reached the promised land? Haynes says we’re getting there.
“The emergence of people’s power for rights and civil rights and respect and understanding is stronger now, and I think we’ll reach it,” she said.