Mississippi remembers Martin Luther King Jr.

Today marks 50 years since Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tennessee.  News 25’s Jaylon Morris spoke with local leaders along the Gulf Coast who recall that day 50 years ago.

Most people can’t remember every single day of their lives, but on April 4th, 1968, time stood still as James Earl Ray shot and killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. South Mississippi radio personality Rip Daniels remembers the day vividly as he heard the news on his way to school. “I remember getting on the school bus going to East Junior High and hearing conversations coming from the back of the bus.”

Daniels admired Dr. King’s courage, following the acts of local activists like Dr. Gilbert R. Mason Sr. and the wade-ins in Biloxi back in the early 1960s. “It was a time when people like him and Dr. Gilbert R. Mason and Dr. Dunn had a passionate disregard for their own life.”

Locals gathered at First Missionary Baptist Church for prayer, taking time to reflect on Dr. King and all of those involved in the Civil Rights movement. Rev. Elijah Mitchell said, “He had courage. He had faith. He preserved with everything he was trying to do. I really admired the man.”

Family of Faith Christian Church Pastor Glenn Johnson appreciates Dr. King for his involvement in the community, not just as a Civil Rights leader, but as a pastor as well. “The church is made up of the community and as a church we have a responsibility. As a pastor, as a leader, we need to be in the forefront.”

Rip Daniels wants future activists to follow Dr. King’s footsteps in making change happen, not just speaking on it. “He didn’t just speak to power. He got arrested. The strategy behind that was to challenge laws that were discriminatory. It was purposeful.”

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