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And their private time together was no longer limited to Betty driving ML around Chester. In a way, I never recovered from that quote. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter.
ML could only trust one friend with his feelings toward Betty, and that was Mac. Pearl, who was black, measured Betty up. Even ina Gallup poll would report that an astounding 94 percent of white Americans disapproved of interracial marriage. This day was different, because Betty met someone new: a well-dressed, ambitious young man from Atlanta, Georgia, who was in his first year at the seminary and lived on the second floor of Old Main. She listened to him, supported him and greatly admired his ambitions.
In our yearlong correspondence and one long meeting in JanuaryBetty, who recently passed away at the age of 89, told me the story of their relationship and just how close King came to walking away from his future plans for her. It worked. And perhaps he even had a small idea of what his life would mean for the course of history.
He could see himself marrying her. The first, of course, was the obvious one: He loved Betty. Or was ML willing to give up on returning to the South? It was the enthusiasm with which he spoke on a wide range of topics that first attracted her.
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Glares, scoffs and head shakes were inevitable. Fewer than 40 miles from Crozer was the state of Maryland, where the first law against interracial marriage was enacted in ; the state would keep similar laws on its books for more than years. But it continued. I always had a tan and dark brown hair. She graduated from high school in and went directly to Moore College of Art, right across the river from the University of Pennsylvania.
Betty spent many days in her youth walking over to the kitchen to check on her mother, lend an extra hand or just hang around and chat. In those days, who went to restaurants? He was wonderful—a joy to be with and listen to. ML would have known that dining at a predominantly white restaurant was a risky proposition, not only for himself but for Betty as well, but their relationship was a way for him to test the limits of northern culture.
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Whit, while in the same graduating class, was a decade older than ML and was already married, with one child. Could he be content to remain in the North and obtain a position in academia, contributing to the southern cause in some other way?
Was Betty prepared to handle life as the spouse of a black southern minister? ML needed guidance, and though he trusted Mac, it was time to turn to an older and more settled friend. More on Magazine.
Continue to article content. He was clearly old enough and mature enough to know even at the time that his decision on Betty would change the course of his life. Despite the constant exposure to their world, Betty had no intention of becoming a divinity student. That endnote took me on two cross-country flights, spurred dozens of calls to wrong s and knocks on countless doors of people I thought might have known Betty. I was embarrassed to let him know I had never been to any of those places.
Members of the Crozer community, despite their liberalism, would have had trouble throwing their support behind such an arrangement. All rights reserved. ML felt at ease with Betty. But finally I had to tell her resolutely that my plans for the future did not include marriage to a white woman. When asked if she had concerns about how they might be seen, Betty shrugs.
Telling his sister about Betty would have meant putting her in the unenviable position of withholding important information from her mother in every letter and phone call home.
The family lived in a five-bedroom, three-bathroom home on the Crozer campus, and Betty graduated with honors from Eddystone High School, located only two miles away. At first they discussed his time in the South and how different it was from the idealized culture within the seminary. He had a smooth voice and a sly smile.
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They had met at Crozer Theological Seminary, in Chester, Pennsylvania, at the time, where King was a divinity student from the age of 19 until 22, when he graduated in May Pius J. He never recovered. Betty would watch as ML and his friends played pool. In the book, Garrow briefly describes a serious relationship between King and a young white woman around the same age, named Betty.
But Betty recalls that time, and the young King, with fondness anyway. It could serve as living proof of his belief in the idea of social integration. In it, Bennett masks the quote with a tricky set of pronouns, so the source of it is unclear.