Three generations shared a common goal Monday as they walked on U.S. Highway 61 towards Memphis. Several Mississippi teenagers and adult chaperones are commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination with a 50-mile march to Memphis.
It started this weekend, focusing on how far we’ve come since 1968, and far how far society still has to go with race relations.
For the teenagers, it’s more than a march; it’s a mission.
“This means that we’ve come a long way, we are commemorating the life or Dr. Martin Luther King,” Benjamin Rutledge said.
It’s the March To Memphis, which began Saturday near Dundee, Mississippi, and will end Wednesday at the National Civil Rights Museum, on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel.
“Anytime a man gives up his life for something, I think it’s a worthwhile cause,” Walter Jones said. “I benefited from it too, so I don’t think it should be forgotten.”
As the young people march, monitored by law enforcement and adult chaperones, organizers challenged them to reflect on economic and social challenges since Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, what’s been accomplished with race relations and what’s left to be done in 2018.
“This symbolizes how we’ve moved forward,” Cameron Allison said.
“These guys will hopefully inspire other guys and gals to part of advancing Dr. King’s vision,” Jarvis Ward said.
And as the group slowly makes their way to Memphis one step at a time, participants said they’re inspired and energized.
“These guys will be able to say, 50 years from now, they were part of making history around Dr. King’s legacy,” Jarvis Ward said.
“Keep walking young men, because whether you are white or black, we are all human beings.”
The group of marchers will arrive in Memphis city limits Tuesday and take part in a youth rally Tuesday evening.
They’ll make their final 2.5 mile leg of the journey Wednesday morning, including a stop at the Mason Temple.