I'm Happy Dr. King Didn't Sneeze


There is a Metro Council Meeting tomorrow at 6:00 pm… An agenda has been provided, and you can watch the meeting live via channel 3 or stream live on your electronic devices. Also, please do not respond to this email... You can reach me at [email protected].

Please Join Me in Celebration of the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Below is a brief excerpt from Dr. King's final speech, the evening prior to his assassination. He was in Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968, in support of the sanitation workers at Mason Temple. He describes how he was stabbed ten years earlier, and that just a sneeze would have killed him. He goes on to explain that he was "happy he didn't sneeze" and reminded us of all the work and accomplishments he made in the Civil Rights Movement following that attack...

"...You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, "Are you Martin Luther King?"

And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that's punctured, you drown in your own blood—that's the end of you.

It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheelchair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I've forgotten what those telegrams said. I'd received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I've forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I'll never forget it. It said simply, "Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School." She said, "While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I'm simply writing you to say that I'm so happy that you didn't sneeze."

And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn't sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream. And taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can't ride your back unless it is bent. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been down in Selma, Alabama, been in Memphis to see the community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I'm so happy that I didn't sneeze.

And they were telling me, now it doesn't matter now. It really doesn't matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we've had the plane protected and guarded all night."

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Metro COVID-19 Distribution - 75+ Years of Age

  • Metro Public Health Department is currently offering appointments for vaccinations for individuals 75 or older.


What I've Been Up To:

  • As the Health, Hospitals, and Social Service Chairman, I am continuing to work with Metro Public Health to provide communication and information regarding the vaccine rollout... We plan to have more information for you and your families on Thursday.
    • I've been spending a lot of time working to get information for residents and CMs. We are getting several questions, and please trust that we will have more information soon.

  • Continue working with the Mayor and MNPD on the Shotspotter technology to have a pilot program in the North precinct. - This has been a nonstop effort, and I hope to have some new information soon.

What's Happening Tomorrow Night

We are meeting virtually tomorrow night! The agenda is shorter than usual, but there are legislation items I'd like to highlight for you below...

BL2021-612 An ordinance establishing a Special Commission to review and investigate the circumstances and responses pertaining to the suicide bombing in Nashville on December 25, 2020, and to make any recommendations regarding public safety improvements.

BL2020-553 - Earlier this year, the city closed Bordeaux Long Term Care Facility. This decision was made after the city not receiving any bids to manage the facility and legislation from 2014 that was passed that stated Nashville will begin to move out of the Long Term Care business. A second facility, Knowles Home Assisted Living, will be managing their contract soon, and this ordinance will require a resolution of the Metropolitan Council prior to discontinuing operations at the facility that has to be passed by the current council at the time of service discontinuing. This bill does not mean that we are closing Knowles Home.

BL2020-586 - This ordinance, as amended, would reverse the Metropolitan Council’s previous decision determining that long term medical care is an obsolete governmental service, and require that certain actions be taken regarding the Bordeaux Long Term Care (BLTC) and J.B. Knowles Home for the Aged (Knowles Home) facilities. Ordinance No. BL2014-688 approved agreements for the lease and disposition of real property relating to the BLTC and Knowles Home facilities and made a determination that the private sector can provide quality long term medical care services on a more economical basis, thus making such services obsolete and unnecessary as a governmental function. Section 2.01 of the Metro Charter provides that Metro has the power and authority to “establish, maintain and operate public hospitals, sanatoria, convalescent homes, clinics and other public institutions, homes, and facilities for the care of the sick, of children, the aged and the destitute.” But Section 1.05 of the Charter provides that Metro may stop performing any governmental service that the Council, by ordinance, has determined to be obsolete and unnecessary.

BL2019-8 - Currently, money collected from the payment in lieu of sidewalks is collected into a pedestrian benefit fund. The funds are required to stay in the pedestrian benefit zone from where the payment was made. This ordinance would remove the pedestrian benefit zones and instead require funds to stay within the Council district of the new development.

Dates to remember:

  • All in-person meetings (large/small groups or one-on-one) that I have scheduled are postponed in light of the increasing COVID-19 concerns and will not be rescheduled until further notice. 

Lets Connect:

I invite all District 21 residents to reach out to me directly with any information or concerns in our community. Email is the best form of communication, but invite you to call me as well. My contact information is below.

Contact information: Email - [email protected] / Phone: 615.946.9700

Best regards,



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