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Dr. Freeman Reflects on His Relationship with MLK
Thomas F. Freeman
1973-74, interview recorded 2012
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  • Highlights
    Dr. Freeman describes reuniting with Dr. King, a former student, in a restaurant. 
    Dr. Freeman on his brother meeting Dr. King in an airport in Oslo, Norway. 
  • Transcript
    Strangely enough, I didn't even know that I was teaching Martin Luther King.
    About ten or fifteen years afterward, I was at a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia,
    and Martin came in with his entourage and sat down to eat.
    And I said to my student, "Look, that's Martin Luther King!" (whispering).
    And I'm so pleased I can tell them that's Martin Luther King.
    Before dinner was over, he came over to our table, stuck out his hand,
    and said, "Dr. Freeman, you don't remember me, but I remember you.
    You taught me . . ." Then he described the course that I taught,
    and I looked at him and said, "I did?!"
    And from then on, there was an association so that he knew who I was,
    I knew who he was, and when we had the,
    at the time we used to have baccalaureate and commencement addresses, we had them together.
    I did the baccalaureate and he did the commencement,
    and before making this presentation,
    he acknowledged the fact that I had had influence over him.
    M- That was the commencement address here?
    TFF- Yea, not at TSU, at Erma Hughes College.
    Now, subsequent to that, my brother
    was in Oslo at the time that Martin received the Nobel Peace Prize,
    and he saw him at the airport and started to go up to him and thought,
    "No, he doesn't know me, I'm not going to bother trying to speak to him."
    Then he said something occurred to him, he might not get another chance to do that.
    So he thought he would go ahead and speak to him.
    So he stuck out his hand and said to Martin, "You don't know me--"
    And Martin stopped him and said, "Yes sir I do. You are Tom's brother."