One of the great honors on our 18-month (thus far) Story of America journey was meeting Police Chief Kevin Murphy of Montgomery, AL. Recently at the White House, President Obama recognized and thanked Chief Murphy for an act of reconciliation that we documented in the video above.
The exchange too place at the St. Patrick’s Day reception (Murphy is Irish American), when President Obama gave Murphy a personal “thank you” for his continued efforts to improve the relationship between law officers and communities of color.
Rebecca Burylo of The Montgomery Advertiser reports:
“The president had heard of my gesture and told me that I was a good man, that I did a good thing,” Murphy said. “I was very humbled by that. I never thought that the president of the United States would have known about the gesture and that really touched me.”
The relationship between Lewis and Murphy is a testament to the chief’s mission of reconciliation.
“Congressman Lewis is a great man. He is just so humble and a genuine gentleman, but a tough guy,” Murphy said. “Who would have known 50 years ago that this young man then would become a United States congressman?
“He’s one of the biggest heroes we have today,” Murphy added.
Since becoming police chief three years ago, Murphy has made it his mission to change the country’s negative perception of Montgomery and the South because of its history of slavery and segregation.
It is a history that should be taught and remembered, but never repeated, Murphy said. [MORE]
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