A ceremonial wreath laying in honor of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev Martin Luther King Jr at MLK Memorial in Washington DC.
Fifty years after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader’s family and admirers will remember him with marches, speeches and quiet reflection on Wednesday.
The commemorations stretch from his hometown of Atlanta to Memphis, where he died, and points beyond.
Among the first events Wednesday is a march led by the same sanitation workers union whose low pay King had come to protest when he was shot. Hundreds of people gathered at the headquarters of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, where they chanted, banged drums and held signs saying “I Am” — one of the slogans for events surrounding the anniversary of King’s death.
Andre Gipson, the local president for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said about 400 members from other cities were in Memphis for the march. He said it promised to be a “very special” event for workers.
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. In the evening, the Atlanta events culminate with a bell ringing and wreath laying at his crypt to mark the moment when he was gunned down on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. He was 39.
Events were also taking taking place in Atlanta, where King’s daughter, Rev. Bernice A. King, moderated an awards ceremony in his honour, and near the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in D.C.