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At Midwest City prayer breakfast, FBI agent talks about Martin Luther King Jr.'s influence

James Finch, FBI special agent in charge for the Oklahoma City Division, was among guest speakers at Midwest City's 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day prayer breakfast Monday at the Reed Conference Center.
by Carla Hinton Published: January 22, 2013

— A diverse group of speakers shared inspiring words at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day prayer breakfast Monday, including an FBI agent who said the civil rights leader's “dream” helped him decide his career path.

James E. Finch, who is based in Oklahoma City as FBI special agent in charge, was one of two guest speakers who spoke at Midwest City's 16th annual prayer breakfast honoring King. It was at the Reed Conference Center, 5800 Will Rogers Road.

Finch, originally from Omaha, Neb., told the prayer gathering of about 400 people that he was 9 years old when King was shot and killed in 1968. He said he was nearing his 18th birthday when his mother's employer, an FBI agent, asked him if he would consider working for the law enforcement agency.

Finch said he was forthright with the agent, telling him that he thought of the federal agency as the “big police” — and all he knew of the police was seeing them beat blacks in his neighborhood. Finch said the agent responded simply, saying that the FBI protects the rights of all citizens.

Finch said King's teachings, particularly his dream of a nation where people would be judged on their character, not race, were among the factors that influenced him to eventually go to work for the FBI. He said he is proud to work for an agency that protects Americans' civil rights.

“I know Dr. King is smiling on us today,” Finch said.

The breakfast also included comments from Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Peace House, who said King, like the biblical prophets, spoke “truth to power” even though it made others uncomfortable.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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