Historic Photos of MLK Emerge

Big move uncovers decades-old pictures

A little spring cleaning could do you some good. As the Highland Park police discovered, you might come upon a little piece of history, and we're not talking about the dust that's been collecting since last spring.

In 1966, Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf invited Rev. Martin Luther King to speak at Congregation Solel. The historic event created plenty of controversy in the politically turbulent era, and both local and state police were in full force.

Sadly, the Highland Park synagogue had no evidence to commemorate the influential civil-rights leader's visit.

But a few years ago, the local police department began preparing for a move to a new building. Several old neglected documents were rediscovered, including a half-dozen black-and-white photos of Rev. King at Solel, probably taken for surveillance purposes.

"These photos turned up when we were cleaning out files," Leigh Delaney, executive assistant to the chief and the department's resident historian, told the Tribune. "With everybody knowing that I am such a big history buff, they were given to me."

Delaney filed them away for safekeeping.

In January, she read a Tribune article about King's visit to the synagogue. When she discovered that the sanctuary had no photos to mark the event, she quickly made copies.

"We had pretty much given up hope of ever finding any photos from his visit," said Sharon Diaz, executive director of the congregation. "It was a wonderful gift."

The photos will be featured in a community newsletter.

Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue, doubts he would find anything valuable in the back of his closet.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us