(peaceful music cues) (peaceful music continues) - So Horace, - Yes?
- What was it like to grow up in such a legacy of civil rights and social justice?
Well, to be honest, at a very early age I kind of engage in an epistemological, you know, encounter with God saying, you know, why would you put me in this context?
You know, to sleep in Dr. King's home, to know every formidable black leader there was in and out of my house - For like who for example - Oh, I mean Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young I mean Martin Luther King, you know, knew Harry Belafonte God Dillard, I mean you name the Nipsey Russell.
I mean, these people be in my basement with my dad.
I mean, they were there because beyond whatever their professional commitment was they were trying to make life better for other folks.
I knew that God had placed me there to absorb as much as I could.
- You were there with the architects and designers.
So can you share a little bit about how - Yeah, well, you know my dad started in the labor movement.
So he was vice president of the Negro American Labor Council in the forties and fifties under A. Philip Randolph, Bayard.
Rustin was his compatriot.
The two of them staffed the march on Washington for jobs in the war industry.
So it was not only civil rights but it was a labor movement.
And TULC was at the hub of that which is where King and everyone came.
My dad took me everywhere.
Yolanda King, was my dear friend.
We had a theatrical company, Dr. King's daughter.
They didn't get to go.
They were afraid for their lives and harm.
But my dad took me, I went to planning meetings in 19 maybe 62 or maybe 64, we went to Baltimore, Maryland for the Negro American Labor Council.
Dr. King was at that convention, and while we were there an African American was run over by a tractor in downtown Baltimore integrating a skilled trade site.
And so all of the people at the convention all the black trade unionists from all the unions maybe a thousand plus people, plus folks in the community marched downtown to the site.
And when we got there, Dr. King was only like 5'4, 5'5.
He wasn't a tall fella, you know, at all.
They had a reef and they wanted to hang this reef on the fence.
And Dr. King webbed his fingers and hoisted me up to put that reef on the fence.
- Oh - But one of the lessons I learned from that was for the next two days in the convention I kept telling my dad, when I grew up, I want to be a black leader.
That's one of the, the most salient experiences that I've Had.
- And did your dad, like Dr. King and others, did he have a target on his back?
- Oh, yeah.
- and even knowing that, - yeah - and knowing what happens to certain leaders, you still wanted to lead.
- There was an incident when he and Charles Evers and Aaron Henry, who was president of Mississippi NAACP where they actually surrounded by the clan.
I mean, it was harrowing.
I mean, we as children would get calls, you know my mother would bring us in and tell us that we had to pray for my dad because they didn't know you was gonna come home, - come back.
- But that's when you know you really committed, you know, when you, - Well that must have been scary though, as a kid?
- It was scary for me.
I mean, I love my dad, you know, he was like my best friend.
I worked with him till the day he died.
But at the same time, you know, he always explained you know, why he was doing what he was doing and why he was where he was done going.
- What's missing in our relationships with each other, with our city with our world that we are not moving forward.
- I will say to you that having gone through the civil rights movement and and having a draft card, and you know I mean the whole social upheaval behind the war in Vietnam that I really think where we are right now is potentially worse than any of that.
Look, we have people now who want to usurp the Constitution care nothing about democracy, the principles and precepts upon which his government was founded just to maintain power.
Because they know in 25 years, you know whites were be in the minority.
And that's what frightens me because I think the closer we get to a multicultural society and one that recognizes that all people are really the same the more dangerous it becomes and the more threatened they are.
The positive note is if enough good people of enough people of conscious, which is what Dr. King said, whites and blacks, gays and straights come together and recognize that, you know the principles and the precepts upon which is government was founded liberty and justice for all.
And actually embrace that.
I'm encouraged that there's enough people who feel differently.
We just gotta get them to act differently and then we can rid ourselves of this curse.
The vast majority of people I know want to live in harmony and peace with one another.
They just don't want to want to be shut out and excluded and discriminated against based on sexual preference, color of their skin zip codes they live in or anything else.
So, I mean, that's how I see it.
And I may be wrong.
I always choose to see it as half full, not half empty.
And I believe, as Dr. King did, in innate goodness of people.
And I think we've got to appeal to that and, you know do the best we can to make it happen.
- [Narrator 1] The Detroit Symphony Orchestra's 45th annual