Today, being the recognition of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, brings the realization of where we were and where we are in America.
My dear friend, Arthur Ashe and I participated in an event during one of his visits to Richmond and I then invited him to dinner at the mansion. He called and asked if he might bring some relatives to which I readily agreed. As we sat in the Executive dining room, he at one end of the table, and I at the other, he said to his young nieces, nephews, and cousins in attendance that this was a moment that they should not forget as it had not always been possible for them to be there, where pictures of Washington and Jefferson were in observation as we dined.
Upon his death shortly thereafter, I arranged with Jeanne Ashe, his widow, to have his body lie in state in the mansion. His was the second body to have been so designated with that honor; the first was Stonewall Jackson. As Dr. King noted, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” That process is slow but we must continue to believe in the high possibilities.