Memphis commemorates 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassination

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — All sights will be set on Memphis Wednesday to remember the nation’s most prominent civil rights leader who was shot and killed while in the Bluff City in 1968, a shot that would change the course of the civil rights movement.

“We are here today to celebrate and commemorate what a great leader has gone on, but his dream is still alive,” said the Rev. Dr. Walter Womack, Memphis president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Thousands are expected to fill the streets of Memphis this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to remember the sanitation workers’ strike that attracted him to West Tennessee.

“I couldn’t be any other place. I wouldn’t want to be any other place,” said Jaquie Algee from Chicago.

There was the “Where Do We Go From Here” symposium that featured leaders who focused on issues highlighted by Dr. King.

On Wednesday, there will be a ceremony with the laying of the wreath on the balcony where Dr. King was killed. There will also be tributes and remarks from civil rights leaders taking place in the courtyard.

“I just had to be a part of this because I am 76 years old and I may not see this again, so this is why I am here,” George Hammond of Mobile, Alabama, said.

King delivered his “Mountain Top” speech at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ on the eve of his assassination, April 3, 1968.

The Mason Temple is just one historical stop individuals will visit in Memphis this week to remember Dr. King.

A nationwide bell toll will take place at 6:01 p.m. at the National Civil Rights Museum, the same spot of the Lorraine Motel. The bell will ring 39 times to celebrate every year that Dr. King was on Earth and pay homage to his legacy.

The Memphis Area Transit Authority is offering free bus rides through Wednesday in relation to MLK50 events.

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