- May 28, 1960 — Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard E.L. Edward speaks at a rally held on the lawn of the DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Georgia. Edward holds KKK literature entitled ‘Conquer and Breed’ which was distributed during the gathering. (Image from the Bettman Collection at Corbis Images.)
- October 25, 1960 — MLK, having earlier been transferred from the Fulton County Jail, appeared in the courtroom of Judge J. Oscar Mitchell in the Dekalb County Courthouse. The charge was violation of parole. The previous May, he and Coretta had been driving writer Lillian Smith to Emory University for her cancer treatment. As often happened in this era, a policeman had pulled over this interracial group of travelers. He discovered that King was still driving on his Alabama driver’s permit, three months after moving to Atlanta. He was sentenced to pay a $25 fine and serve a year’s probation. His alleged probation violation was his participation in demonstrations at the Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta. At the hearing, Coretta sat alongside King Sr., A. D., and Christine on the “colored” side of the courtroom. Judge Mitchell was unmoved by any arguments and sentenced King to four months in Georgia State Prison at Reidsville. At 4 A.M. the following morning, guards woke King, ordered him to dress and gather his belongings. Before his attorney or any of his family received notification, King was transferred from his cell to the state penitentiary in Reidsville. Uncertain of his destination and finding his guards unresponsive to his queries, King was deeply unnerved by the situation. “On the way they dealt with me just like I was a hardened criminal,” he later told an interviewer. “They had me chained all the way down there and—you know, the chains about my legs. They kind of tied my legs to . . . they had something in the floor where the chains were attached and I guess it’s a method they use when they transport real criminals so it would be no way for me to escape–and I was handcuffed.” (Go here for more information and read still more in Taylor Branch’s Parting the Water: America in the King Years 1954-1968, pp. 351 ff.)
- August 25, 2014 — In the course of doing some errands, Jim passes in front of the old Dekalb County Courthouse. Two women kindly agree to let him take their picture, next to a bronze sculpture of an older couple enjoying the weather.
Everything in flux. Nothing stands still.