SPEECHES, MARCHES MARK MAR­TIN LUTHER KING AN­NIVER­SARY

South Florida Times - - WEEK IN REVIEW -

MEM­PHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Fifty years af­ter the Rev. Mar­tin Luther King Jr. was as­sas­si­nated, the civil rights leader’s fam­ily and ad­mir­ers were mark­ing the an­niver­sary of his death with marches, speeches and quiet re­flec­tion Wed­nes­day.The om­mem­o­ra­tions stretched from his home­town of At­lanta to Mem­phis, where he died, and points be­yond. Hun­dreds of peo­ple bundled in hats and coats gath­ered early in Mem­phis for a march led by the same san­i­ta­tion work­ers union whose low pay King had come to protest when he was shot. Oth­ers were as­sem­bling in At­lanta, where King’s daugh­ter the Rev. Ber­nice A. King was set to mod­er­ate an awards cer­e­mony in his honor.The Mem­phis events are sched­uled to fea­ture King’s con­tem­po­raries, in­clud­ing the Rev. Jesse Jack­son, the Rev. Al Sharp­ton and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, along with celebri­ties such as the rap­per Com­mon. In the evening, the At­lanta events cul­mi­nate with a bell-ring­ing and wreath-lay­ing at his crypt to mark the mo­ment when he was gunned down on the bal­cony of the old Lor­raine Mo­tel on April 4, 1968. He was 39. Wed­nes­day’s events fol­lowed a rous­ing cel­e­bra­tion the night be­fore of King’s “I’ve Been To the Moun­tain­top” speech at Mem­phis’ Ma­son Tem­ple Church of God in Christ. He de­liv­ered this speech the night be­fore he was as­sas­si­nated. In­side the church, Ber­nice King called her older brother, Mar­tin Luther King III, to join her in the pul­pit, and she dis­cussed the dif­fi­culty of pub­licly mourn­ing their fa­ther — a man hated dur­ing his life­time, now beloved around the world. “It’s im­por­tant to see two of the chil­dren who lost their daddy 50 years ago to an as­sas­sin’s bul­let,” said Ber­nice King, now 55.“But we kept go­ing. Keep all of us in prayer as we con­tinue the griev­ing process for a par­ent that we’ve had yet to bury.” The an­niver­sary co­in­cides with a resur­gence of white supremacy, the con­tin­ued shoot­ings of un­armed black men and a pa­rade of dis­cour­ag­ing sta­tis­tics on the lack of progress among black Amer­i­cans on is­sues from hous­ing to ed­u­ca­tion to wealth. But rather than de­spair, the re­sound­ing mes­sage re­peated at the church was one of re­silience, re­solve, and a re­newed com­mit­ment to King’s legacy and un­fin­ished work.

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