COLUMBUS, Ga. – One local woman is remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday as leaving a legacy of nonviolence. Lillian Clark, also known as Bunky McClung, is one of six people who were arrested for sitting at the front of a bus in Columbus.
She was a freshman in college home for the summer. Clark says this helped spark the attention for young people to become involved in making racial changes in Columbus.
“Dr. King was someone you’d see almost everyday. He was our leader,” Clark said.
Dr. King played a big role in the Atlanta community. Clark worked at the Atlanta Urban League, which was active in the civil rights movement.Marking Luther King Jr.
“Dr. King was Ebenezer the church we all attended. We all knew one another. We knew his mom and we knew daddy King. These were all people if you think about I was trying to explain in Columbus the people you are around everyday,” Clark explained.
She joined in with other young folks to support civil rights.
“This was the first chance all of the sudden we were finding out that guess what the things that everybody else as citizens enjoy asking our parents why can’t we? What are the reasons? And you start learning about civics and government and politics,” she said.
Dr. King visited Columbus shortly after Clark was arrested for sitting in the front of a city bus.
“Six of us were arrested here. We stayed in jail for a while. Attorney Albert Thompson was our attorney and so that was sort of the beginning of Columbus starting to pay some attention to it’s young folks trying to get involved and making a change in this community racially,” Clark said.
Clark says one of Dr. King’s biggest legacies that lives on in today’s world is his training of nonviolence.
“His whole being. The first thing that I remember and the encounter that I had with him, which was here in Columbus was nonviolence,” she said.
Clark recalls the day Dr. King was shot and killed.
“The shock of this happening just tore up the community. I can’t even express the kind of feeling people had. It was like don’t let it be true,” she described.
Clark is the daughter of the late A.J. McClung. He was a local civil rights leader and served as the first Mayor Pro Tem of Columbus. He also took on mayoral duties for a brief period after J.R. Allen was killed in a plane crash in 1973.