Mid-Southerners gather to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – There were multiple events throughout the Mid-South Monday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Each brought large crowds of all different ages, some who even remember the days when Dr. King was alive. 

Reverend Leonard Dawson was just 22-years-old when Rev. Dr. Martin Lither King Jr. died.

“Dr. King was killed down at the Loraine Hotel. Everyone knows that it was a shock to all of the world – not only America, but all of the world,” said Dawson.

Dr. King’s fight led Rev. Dawson to join one of the civil rights leader’s organizations, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  

“We are joining in with people all over the world to say that Dr. King’s mission, his dreams, are not being unheard today,” said Dawson.

“There’s much work still to be done and we don’t want Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy to fizzle out. We want to keep the dream alive. We want to take it higher,” said Reverend Walter Womack, SCLC Memphis Chapter President.

It was a dream crossing all boundaries.

Many showed thanks by marching in the annual MLK Parade to the National Civil Rights Museum. Their fight aligned with Dr. King’s. 

“Martin Luther King stood for the people and service. Being an employee, a retired employee of Ford Motor Company and being a part of a union, I believe in service work and giving back to the people,” said Kimberly Akpabio, MLK Parade marcher.

The younger generation is now taking responsibility and joining the movement.

“We’re proud of the young people that come out here and want to be a part of Martin Luther King and any type of volunteer work. It just warms our heart when we see the young people out here,” said Evelina Warlix, a parade marcher.

“The legacy lives because it’s regeneration. If you don’t have young getting involved, all the old dies. We need our youth,” said Akpabio.

17-year-old Frederick Deer came to the National Civil Rights Museum, he said, “to celebrate Martin Luther King on his accomplishments and how all people – it’s supposed to bring us together – and how we can go to schools, how we can respect each other as a nation.” 

Memphis resident and mother Shimica Jones, brought her family.

“I teach my kids all the time. Right now, they’re doing a report on Dr. Martin Luther King,” said Jones. “They need to know the change that he made. They need to know the change that he made in Memphis.”

It is a change that has moved many young people to take action now.

“Help out with volunteers and stuff and try to help other people and elders with their needs like canned – what we’re doing with the canned food drive,” said Deer. “I feel like it’s important to all of us that we all carry on his legacy and try to help each other and support each other no matter what.”

During last year‘s celebration, about 12,000 people came to the museum to honor Dr. King. 

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