Admirers mourn MLK, pledge to carry on unfinished work
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP):
Fifty years after a shot rang out in Memphis, killing the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, freedom rang from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel as a bell tolled 39 times to mark a life cut short by racism.
King died among the most hated men in America, but yesterday, admirers grateful for his life and legacy mourned his loss and pledged to carry on his unfinished work to end racial injustice and economic inequality
"Nothing would be more tragic than for us to stop at this point," said the Rev.erend William Barber, who will renew King's Poor People Campaign this spring. "We must go up together or go down together. What he said then is what we must do now."
A host of tributes to the slain civil rights leader were held across the country. At the epicentre was Memphis, where King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while in town for a sanitation workers' strike. The dignity of the workers paralleled this year's anniversary, with teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky walking out of schools to push for more funding.
The triple evils of racism, poverty and war that King hammered at the end of his life linger from economic, educational, housing and health disparities to the looming threat of nuclear war. Both the speakers and marchers of the day pledged their commitment to picking up King's mantle.
The Reverend James Lawson, who invited King to Memphis 50 years ago to assist with the sanitation workers' strike, said more progress is needed toward King's goal of equality for all.
"I'm still anxious and frustrated," said Lawson, his black hair turned grey. "The task is unfinished."