Emerson journalism professor Carole Simpson, who broke the news of Martin Luther King Jr.’s first crusade for equal rights as a 25-year-old cub reporter in Chicago, gives the keynote at today’s World of Wellesley MLK Jr. Breakfast.

What is MLK Day like for you?

Even though it’s his birthday celebration, I’m reminded of his death and that awful night I spent covering it.

When did his death sink in for you?

The next day when the city of Chicago was up in flames, fires all over the city. … That’s when it really hit me, “Oh my God, what’s going to happen?”

What will you talk about at Wellesley’s MLK Breakfast?

I always tell the story how he gave a boost to my career when I staked him out for about 14 hours so I could get a scoop as a young reporter in Chicago. It gave me such a thrill when he said, “I know you’ll do well, young lady.”

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