When health issues caused John Doar to withdraw as the keynote speaker for the Atlanta conference, long time NAFUSA member W.J. Michael (“Mike”) Cody agreed to stand in. Cody proceeded to give one of the most memorable speeches ever heard at the annual meetings. Cody was one of six lawyers representing Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis when Dr. King was assassinated while in the city to support the striking sanitation workers. Cody’s intense description of the last two days of Dr. King’s life effected everyone in the room.
Cody has written a law review article which formed the basis for his speech: King at the Mountain Top: The Representation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memphis, April 3-4 1968. Cody was present at the Mason Temple on April 3, 1968, the night before Dr. King was killed, when he made his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.
A young Mike Cody appears in the photo below in the lower right center on the day of the demonstration on behalf of the sanitation workers.