Teens begin Mississippi-to-Memphis march in honor of King

A view of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington- April 4th 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the US civil rights leader

On April 4, 1967, precisely one year before an assassin's bullet killed the dreamer Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The former motel is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Fifty years ago this Wednesday, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Six middle school, high school and college students, along with two adult mentors, began their march Saturday in Dundee, Mississippi.

These roads that had so many bumps and holes, and we paved them over, and they have potholes in them again, we have to fix them again, we have to reteach, we have to do some rethinking about how we are treating each other.' I think that's what he'd say. But I'm not concerned about that now. "Though King's hallmark was nonviolent protest, the demonstration turned violent, with stores being looted and the police shooting and killing a 16-year-old". And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I have looked over, and I have seen the Promised Land.

"I was a bit surprised by that, since I had never thought of the Lord's Supper as something you could do anywhere outside of a Baptist church", Brown wrote. "But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land". I'm not anxious about anything. As the display shares, their rallying cry was "I Am a Man".

David Garrow, author of "Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference", said opposition to the war was seen as "fringe" at the time, and anti-war sentiment was "not widely popular like it is, say, come 1972".

Jim Vincent, president of the Providence branch of the NAACP, was a junior at Boston Technical High School at the time of the assassination.

"As a child, I kind of reacted to how the grown ups responded", he said. "And then my teacher saying to us. four boys of color in the class".

As police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a manhunt for Martin Luther King Jr.'s killer, which would eventually lead to the capture of James Earl Ray two months later in London, Young and other members of Martin Luther King Jr.'s inner circle reconvened the day of the killing back in Martin Luther King Jr.'s room at the Lorraine Motel. And although the leader's statue as a leader only grew in death, he said the moments of his life also meant so much to people.

Now, 50 years after his murder, the Dream that Dr. King had seems more elusive for so many in this nation than it has ever been.

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"(King would think) 'Lord, we've made progress, but Lord, we have so much further to go, so much more progress to make.

The civil rights leader came to Memphis to stand up for sanitation workers, nearly exclusively black, who were seeking pay beyond poverty wages and a deep measure of respect.

"I felt indescribably sad, lonely and lost and needed to do something with my grief", Brown recalled. "And then another friend of mine called, and we got realistic".

After a previous spate of police violence against young black men, Greater Shiloh organized an "Our Lives Matter" community dialogue with members of the Easton Police Department. The group's director, Kevin Peterson, said the speech's themes of racial and economic inequality make it timeless. "I think there are a lot of things that we just left unattended". Stanton, 54, said the teens' effort was special. "The whole thing is depressing".

"It's easy for Americans to forget how polarizing a figure King actually was in the 1960s", Farber said. "Trump has put his foot on their throats".

"The final 12 months of his life, King is so exhausted, so pessimistic about the future, so depressed", Garrow said.

The night before he died, King delivered his moving "Mountaintop" speech at Mason Temple, now the headquarters of the Church of God in Christ. His words still resonate as we approach this anniversary: "We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today". "I was like, 'Yes!"

Too many only honor King's legacy on his birthday or the anniversary of his death.

"Our generation has good qualities, but sometimes the bad qualities overshadow the good qualities", Chandler said.

"There are thousands of people - if not tens of thousands of people - that hold offices today across the country, elected or appointed, who were inspired by his life", he said. I think he'd be smiling in his grave about that.

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