Vigil to mark Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy Wednesday

Jeremiah Dew. Will Crooks  Greenville Journal

Jeremiah Dew. Will Crooks Greenville Journal

"Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination,"Trump tweeted".

The commemorations stretch from his hometown of Atlanta to Memphis, where he died, and points beyond.

The Memphis events are scheduled to feature King's contemporaries, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, along with celebrities such as rapper Common.

The prayer walk and rally amid the cherry blossoms and under cloudy skies was one of dozens of commemorations planned nationwide to pay homage to King, who was shot just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, as he stood on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

Suspected gunman James Earl Ray later pleaded guilty to assassinating King, then spent the rest of his life claiming he'd been the victim of a setup. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 4, 2018, to be a day to honor Dr. King's legacy.

"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.

"Today, we remember my father's death", said Bernice King, CEO of The King Center in Atlanta.

"By the end of the 20th century, you have a real black middle class in America, which Dr. King would certainly have taken some credit for and been encouraged by", Toure Reed, a history professor at Illinois State University, said on GLT's Sound Ideas.

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"Now it seems to be more of a cultural thing just to say, 'I commemorated Dr. King's death.' It's what I expect to see, but I would like to see more education around the whole occurrence".

King's tweet about her father continued: "And, when the truth he was speaking plus the work he was doing regarding economic justice, racism, war and poverty became too much for those in power to bear...#MLK50Forward #MLK". 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.

Ceremonies and other events are being held nationwide Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "He'd say he can't retire, he has to continue working", said Montiero.

"This is a very special day", he said.

The 78-year-old congressman talked about the Freedom Riders, voter registration for blacks in the South during the 1960s and about meeting with King, who called him "the boy from Troy".

The NAACP sponsored an event in Paterson, N.J., where King visited on March 27, 1968, to raise money and awareness of the Poor People's Campaign.

Starting May 14, clergy, union members and other activists will take part in the events in about 30 states, targeting Congress and state legislatures.

In response to Donald Trump's tweet about Martin Luther King, many Americans weren't impressed [VIDEO].

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