The National Civil Rights Museum honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at its MLK50 Day of Remembrance and Commemoration Ceremony on April 4 with the theme “Where Do We Go from Here?” The ceremony featured reflections, musical tributes, and excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968.
The Reverend Dr. Michael Louis Pfleger, senior pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina in Chicago, Illinois gave the keynote address. Other speakers included Rev. Jesse Jackson, Gov. Bill Haslam, Congressman Steve Cohen, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. Al Green sang “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and his song “Love & Happiness.”
At 6:01 p.m., the time the deadly shot was fired, the bell from the historic Clayborn Temple – the church that served as headquarters for the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike – rang 39 times, once for each year Dr. King lived. Bell tolls echoed at nearly 200 churches, universities and other institutions around the world to mark the international moment of reflection. The ceremony concluded with a ceremonial changing of the wreath on the balcony of Room 306.
The National Civil Rights Museum launched a new exhibit “MLK50: A Legacy Remembered” as part of the 50th observance.