A question arises every year in Bridgeport. Did Martin Luther King visit Bridgeport?
On at least four occasions, Reverend Martin Luther King spoke to crowds in Bridgeport. The first time was in 1961, when the Reverend King was invited by the University of Bridgeport to give a lecture at Klein Auditorium.
More than 2,700 people attended the lecture.
In 1962, Reverend King spoke at Central High School in a program co-sponsored by the NAACP and the Interdenominational and Ministerial Alliance of Greater Bridgeport.
In early 1964, just months after President Kennedy’s assassination, King spoke again to a capacity crowd at Klein Auditorium.
King said, “I think that the greatest tribute Americans can pay to the memory of John F. Kennedy is to see the civil rights bill is passed just as Kennedy presented it.”
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s last visit was on March 13, 1966. He spoke to a large and racially mixed crowd at Klein Auditorium.
When the civil rights leader was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, a local memorial service was held at Klein Auditorium. The audience over flowed out into the street.
In 1934, the Bridgeport Post-Telegram published a cookbook featuring prize recipes contributed by readers through Fairfield county. Many of the recipes in the collection reflected the psyche of the American public and the economics of the times.
The Great Depression,which covered the years of 1929 to the start of World War II, effected all of the households in Bridgeport. The Post-Telegram newspaper covered many of the effects of the Depression. The Post-Telegram also sponsored cooking classes for local women.
The classes were held at the Pyramid Mosque Temple, located on 1035 State Street. The cooking classes helped women learn some of the newest gadgets and cooking techniques. Many of the women were immigrants who did not know how to use the stove or other tools.
A recipe for “Depression Chocolate Cake” was featured on page 50
The result of this cooking school was a cookbook that boasted “A Thousand and One Good Things to Eat.” Recipes covered many ethnic groups now living in the city; a German baked dinner, Irish stew, and apple fritters.
Times are tough now, but in World War II it was especially difficult to get many goods from stores and elsewhere. Citizens were given a series of ration books during the war years. Each ration book was numbered. All kinds of things were rationed, from food to gasoline and even clothing.
The first ration book was given out in 1942. The first war ration stamps given out were for sugar. A series of four books were given out in the United States, and stamps were used for a variety of goods. On the back of the book which contained the stamps was the slogan, “If you don’t need it, DON’T BUY IT.”
This particular ration book was owned by Julian Sohon, the Head librarian of the Bridgeport Public Library in 1942.
Ration books had descriptions of the owner of the book, including height, weight, color of dyes and age. The address of the person to which the book was issued was also marked, with strict rules not to transfer ration stamps. Dealers had to post prices conspicuously so that buyers would not pay more.