MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A huge crowd has turned out at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was struck down by an assassin's bullet on April 4, 1968, and which has since become a shrine to the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“Today, we remember my father’s death, but most importantly, we must remember the purpose and power of his life," Bernice King, the youngest of the civil rights martyr's four children, said in a statement. "Although this day is challenging for our family and for many around the world, I encourage you to hope today and to hope always."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Channel 2 Action News and WSB Radio covered the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago, and now bring you the most comprehensive coverage on the anniversary.
In-depth stories, interviews with witnesses to history, the most extensive archive of photos, audio and video and extensive team coverage of Dr. King's far reaching impact.
At the Lorraine Motel, now the headquarters of the National Civil Rights Museum, a new exhibit called "MLK50: A Legacy Remembered" will be opened to the public Wednesday and feature photos, recorded speeches and personal belongings of the slain civil rights leader.
It's a sacred place for many, including a woman Channel 2's Justin Wilfon met from Memphis who said she wouldn't miss this for the world.
“I wanted to remember Dr. King," Peggy Vanderbilt said. "I’m getting emotional now, I'm sorry. Just to remember him because he did a lot for us. And I thank God that he did come along to help us out.”
Bernice King previewed the exhibit this week along with Eric Holder, the first African-American U.S. attorney general.
The daylong commemoration at the National Civil Rights Museum included dances and speeches focused on how Martin Luther King, Jr. lived rather than how he died.
Speakers included the daughter of Robert Kennedy and the governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam.
"I've been blessed by God to come back here 50 years later, and every time, the scab comes off, the sore is still raw, the blood still oozes," said Rev. Jesse Jackson who was with Dr. King that night he was murdered.
King and Jackson went to Memphis on that fateful trip to show their support for the city's striking sanitation workers. One of their union leaders, William Lucy, came to the MLK tribute and told Wilfon he was inspired by what he saw.
“The young people who are here who by their presence suggest their committed to the goals that Dr. King spoke of and these workers thought about,” Lucy said.
The young and old were among the thousands who came to Memphis for the celebration of King's life. As they left, not to forget King's dream.
“I urge you to continue the legacy and the work of our dear brother dr. king for racial equity, social and economic justice. Thank you," Lucy said.
Cox Media Group