Thursday, January 25, 2007
Each year, the SC State University community gathers to celebrate the life and continuing legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the auditorium that bears his name.
This year, SC State President Andrew Hugine Jr. took a moment to honor the life of Dora McDonald, ’46, who worked with King as his personal secretary, aide and trusted confidante.
McDonald died on January 13, 2007 – just two days shy of the national holiday that honors her former employer.
“We also celebrate Dora McDonald as we gather to remember the courage, truth, dignity, compassion and nonviolence that powered Dr. King’s revolutionary spirit,” said Hugine.
McDonald met King’s mentor and then-Morehouse College President Benjamin E. Mays, when she was a senior at SC State in 1946. As an honor student, she was selected to escort him from the president’s home to White Hall, where he preached every Easter.
A year later when she was working at the Avery Research Institute in Charleston, S.C., McDonald again encountered Mays who remembered her and asked her to come to Atlanta to become his secretary. While employed at Morehouse, she met and became a trusted friend of the King family.
The Greeleyville, S.C., native began working with King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1960, and worked for him until his 1968 assassination.
“She served him during some of the most turbulent years of the civil rights movement,” Hugine said. “And, as a testament to her courage, she said there was never a time that she regretted what she was doing.”
McDonald’s memoir – Secretary to a King: Martin Luther King Jr., the Movement and Me – will be published later this year by Hill Street Press.