Years After MLK's Assassination, Activists Take Action

Lorraine Motel

Wednesday's events followed a rousing celebration the night before of King's "I've Been To the Mountaintop" speech at Memphis's Mason Temple Church of God in Christ.

Inspiring generations to come, King's work and activism led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and more.

Younger organizations, like Color of Change have picked up the mantle, pushing for justice, freedom and equality around the nation.

Take a look at some of King's most powerful quotes in the slideshow above.

Scandal star Tony Goldwyn quoted King's final speech before his assassination.

Martin Luther King III said there were three modern movements that were fighting for the same causes his father did decades ago, in an interview with Newsweek.

"There are definitely people around the world that recognize that Dr. King is just an incredibly important contribution to world thought, world culture". But then, a lot of people aren't aware that "Happy Birthday" was written by Stevie Wonder for King (he was part of a group of activists trying to make King's birthday a national holiday- which it now is).

It's now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum, which tells a story everyone should know.

Memphis sanitation workers in 1968 could work 80 hours a week, and still be on public assistance.

The day after the assassination, Lewis & Clark College President John R. Howard decried King's murder, saying it "serves as a grim reminder that a significant fragment of American society still remains locked in the grip of primitive passions and prejudices despite all of our historical efforts to establish and sustain rule of reason in America".

"It's always a source of pain and anxiety", Jackson said. "But, I'm not concerned about that now..." The New Yorker's Jelani Cobb was among numerous political observers to note this week that "the 50th anniversary of King's death falls amid the largest antigun-violence mobilization that we have seen since he departed". He refused to be afraid because of the risk of ambush and sabotage.

King marches and civil rights marchers cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 21, 1965, during their 50-mile march to Montgomery to protest voting laws.


"So, I ask myself often: Where do we go from here?"

Dixie Spencer, president of the Bolivar Hardeman County, Tennessee, branch of the NAACP, said remembrances of King's death should be a call to action. They said they are concerned that President Donald Trump's campaign and election laid bare divisions that they had sought to leave in the past.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend", and, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that".

"Dr. King was 26 during the bus boycotts, (civil rights pioneer and now U.S. representative) John Lewis was 23 during the Freedom Rides".