Martin Luther King, Jr and Uncle Big Bud

Today is set aside to honor the contributions of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr, whose “I Have a Dream” speech has been recognized as among the top 100 speeches of all time.

A few months after King’s speech in August 1963, James E. Williams (a young black man better known as Eddie) fell in love with a white woman. They drove out of Texas with Carol hidden under the clothes hanging on a rack in the back seat so Eddie wouldn’t be arrested, harassed – or worse.

Eddie had attended school only a few months, though his mother wanted him to get an education. His father Henry Esley Williams (nicknamed Big Bud by his parents who were former slaves) said, “”What good will an education do a black man living in a white man’s world? But he’ll never be without work as long as there’s them cotton fields.”

Big Bud and Eddie didn’t march on Washington. They weren’t engaged in the civil rights movement. Nevertheless, they advanced the cause of civil rights by their own actions and the way they lived. Henry always stood up for right and for his family, beginning at age thirteen with facing down a lynch mob of ten men looking for his father. He taught his ten surviving children to work hard, do what was right, and be the best they can be.

His son Eddie taught himself to read and write and built up a successful business. Now he has written the story of his family’s journey from slavery to self-determination in three generations. Uncle Big Bud will be released in February during Black History Month. The story of this family is black history from a personal perspective. I’m pleased that I had a part in bringing this book to the world.

[tags]Martin Luther King Jr, civil rights, James E. Williams, Uncle Big Bud, book[/tags]

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