We have all seen this most famous photograph, from the March on Washington, on August 28, 1963. Many of us remember watching the event on our black and white televisions with monotone sound.
As the cameras panned the crowd, behind Rev. King, we all noticed more than a hundred men wearing white hats, commonly worn by kitchen workers. Why were they there? What was their purpose?
Certainly, it was not a fashion statement. Martin was well aware of the threats to his life, even this early in his tenure.
F.B.I. National Director, J. Edgar Hoover classified him as a danger to the nation and even threatened him for years.
The hats were worn by members of the National Black Police Organization. Their job, to make sure that Martin Luther King, Jr. did not become a victim of any planned act against him.
Martin was about peace, but knew peace was not in the minds of many then, or now.
The brother standing to Martin’s right with a very serious glare was one of those assigned to protect Rev. King, at all costs.
His name, Jesse Dukes. Jesse was a Detective with the New York City Transit Police Department. A man who respected his fellow man. A man who had a smile which could light up the room. A man with a gentle voice, A humble man. A man who I recognized, the first time I saw him. I was a young cop, in the seventies, standing with a man of history, who stood in the gap.
for another man. Jesse was one of those who trained me.
There are many unknowns in history, without whom history could not have been made.
God bless you, Jesse.
Rest in Peace