January 11, 2016

Kathryn Johnson, now 88, was new to the Associated Press when the civil rights movement first took hold in the South. In a new memoir, “My Time with the Kings: A Reporter’s Recollections of Martin, Coretta and the Civil Rights Movement,” Johnson writes about covering the Kings.

I knew the Atlanta bureau wanted no women on its staff. Sit-ins, protest marches and Freedom Rides came my way, I felt, because I was green, cheap labor and the men with experience didn’t want to cover them. At least not until Martin Luther King became famous.

Johnson writes about the Kings and being allowed into their house after Martin Luther King’s assassination. She sat with King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, watching the news.

“I’ve no idea what Coretta was thinking that night, though I’ve often been asked,” Kathryn Johnson writes. “If I had to guess, it would be about her devastating loss, about how she and her four children were going to get along, or perhaps how she would carry on her husband’s remarkable legacy.”

The book includes original wire transmissions and photos from Johnson’s own collection. You can also explore video interviews with her as part of the book’s interactive site.

The videos include Johnson’s memories of covering Atlanta lunch counter sit-ins, the 1965 march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama, and getting to know the Kings.


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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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