Monday, January 15, 2007

How Murray Silver met Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the path less chosen…

A famous Savannah author named Murray M. Silver authored the books “Great Balls of Fire: The Uncensored Story of Jerry Lee Lewis,” “Behind the moss curtain, and other great Savannah stories” and, most recently, “When Elvis Meets the Dalai Lama.” I have yet to meet that Murray Silver, but I hope to before long, as I know and admire a lot about him and his achievements. Today I wanted to write something about his father, the remarkable Honorable Murray M. Silver, Sr., who lives in Hilton Head, SC, with his wife Barbara, and is a personal friend of mine. Over the past several years, I have learned much about the life of the elder Mr. Silver – who is the author of his own nonfiction book “This Bo Peep Ain’t No Fairy Tale!” chronicling the life of his own late father, Wolfe W. Silver – and have found it to be riveting… and vastly inspirational.


Murray Sr. graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in 1953, and as a member of the Georgia Bar for 44 years, established himself as a prominent trial lawyer who handled over 3,000 cases in 42 states. During a recent interview, the younger Murray shared this account of his early life: “I grew up listening to lots of stories about my father's exploits as a criminal attorney in a small southern town. Most of his clients were black and all of them were poor, and that was a bad combination. However, he once represented a poor black man for the murder of two white men in South Georgia and took the case all the way to the US Supreme Court. That he did so at his own expense brought him to the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and my family moved to Atlanta in 1966 when my father became general counsel to the Georgia Department of Labor.” In fact, that series of events led to Murray Sr. becoming a member of the Board of Advisors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change, and to him forming a deep friendship with both Rev. Dr. King and his wife, the late Coretta Scott King. By listening to his conscience and pursuing what he felt was right throughout his career, Murray Sr. became an important ally to the leaders of the civil rights movement, and his accomplishments are a powerful testament to the many ways in which individuals can change the world....