“I Had Dinner With Martin Luther King, Jr.”

As Mattie Johnson's hands knitted part of a blanket, she remembered another time.

Sixty years ago, Mattie was a teacher in Boston, when a friend invited her to dinner to meet someone.  "The minute I saw him, I said no, not for me," Johnson said. "He's too short."  That man was Martin Luther King, Jr.

"We had an argument about why he was going to be a minister," Johnson remembers. "He said the Lord called him. I couldn't accept that."

King soon fell in love with another woman who lived in Johnson's dormitory, Coretta Scott.  "They were going to get married in Atlanta," Johnson said.  "Coretta had a going away dress and it was too long for her, so she asked me to hem it for her and I did."

Mattie lost touch with the Kings.  But soon she started seeing his marches and listening to his speeches on television.  "I started hearing his name and I thought  wow!  He's doing alright," Johnson said.

Mattie did alright too, marrying her husband of more than 50 years, Walter.  "He was six-foot-two," Johnson said with a smile. "That's my style."

Now at age 90, Mattie has outlived Walter and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  She can't believe she will witness history Tuesday with Barack Obama's Inauguration.

"It's been a fascinating life," Johnson said.  "I wonder why the Lord kept me here so long and I think it's for today. When I see that, I feel like I've seen everything."

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