Memphis readies for 50th anniversary of MLK death

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MEMPHIS -- Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

The civil rights activist had traveled to Memphis in 1968 to support a workers strike and lead a peaceful march.

He was with friends on the balcony of Lorraine Motel when he was shot and killed.

Mason Temple was the sight of Dr. King’s final, and some say prophetic, speech the night before he was assassinated. A special service commemorating that night is planned for Tuesday night.

Events are also planned at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was killed.  It has been turned into the National Civil Rights Museum.  In 2014 it underwent a major renovation but the King room was kept the same, exactly the way he left it.

Dr. King had been in Memphis to advocate for striking sanitation workers and was planning a march.  But Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was with Dr. King in his final days told WGN’s Micah Materre, the civil rights iconic was somewhat at a crossroads when it came to the civil rights movement.  Rev. Jackson says Dr. King has been suffering with a migraine headache for three days and people were turning against him, partly because of his stance against the Vietnam War.  And surprising Rev. Jackson said Dr. King was thinking about quitting the movement.

The day he was killed, Rev. Jackson says Dr. King was talking a lot about the past and it showed in his speech that has now come to be known as the “Mountaintop Speech.”

Thursday will be the day long commemoration of Dr. King’s assassination.  Those event taking place will take place at the museum.  And Chicagoan, Father Michael Pfleger will deliver the keynote address.


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