by Amber Schmitz, Sumner Newscow — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has a connection with Sumner County – albeit indirectly. James Laue, father of Caldwell Public Library’s librarian Lisa Moreland, worked alongside Dr. King for eight years.
Before Moreland married her husband Matt Moreland and moved to a farm south of South Haven, she was a little girl of a father who worked closely with the civil rights leader. He was there on the night he was slain.
In 1968, Laue was staying in a room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. next to Dr. King, on the night he was shot, and was also the first person to come to his aide afterwards.
“In April of 1968, I was not quite 3 years old, and I had a little brother who was almost 1,” Moreland said. “My family was living in Virginia at the time, and my father was working for the Department of Justice in the Community Relations Service, a position put into effect by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
Laue grew up in River Falls, Wis., where he attended the University of Wisconsin. After an African American professor sparked his interest in the civil rights movement, he packed his belongings and headed on a train to Harvard, where he earned a Ph.D. After choosing the topic Direct Action with Desegregation, he found himself right in the middle of the civil rights movement.