NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – 55 Years ago, on April 4th, 1968, “the King of Love” was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee. The news of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death was spreading throughout the country.
This same year, Sandra Baron was a young teacher from Indiana was going through her first year on the job at Carter G. Woodson Middle School, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“It’s been 56 years since we went to Carter G. Woodson. My students were limited to where they could go and what they could be. I remember there were circles in the streets of weeping people. So I had the students write an essay. That’s all I knew to do, was to have their feelings on paper,” recalls Sandra Baron.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an eloquent speaker and Ms. Baron used his writing to teach her speech class that year. Martin Luther King Jr. was also a pastor and one of the students in the class of 1968, was Deborah Morton who would grow up to become pastor of Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church.
“Pastor Deborah Morton was an outstanding speech student. I had written many times in my journals that she was going to be very special. She had an outstanding trait of hooking into her audience,” says Sandra Baron.
Sandra Baron is now retired from a long career in teaching, but she is an active member of several civil rights organizations in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Over the years, Sandra Baron has made it a mission to deliver the essay letters of that class of 1968.
Recently, Baron published her book, Bridging the Mississippi. The book is about her experience in educating youth across America, the Carter G. Woodson Middle School letters of 1968, and racism in America.
Sandra Baran hopes people reach important lessons from her book, saying “I hope they take away that love is more powerful than racism. Love is not indulgent but kind and gentle. I hope a reader can ask an important question, of if they have prejudice in themselves.”
On Saturday, April 21st, Sandra Baron will speak and sign copies of her book, Bridging the Mississippi at Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church, on Reed Boulevard at 12 noon.