Protesters gathered on April 4, 2018 at the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington to mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination
America paid tribute on Wednesday to Martin Luther King, the icon of the peaceful struggle against racial inequality, murdered 50 years ago in Memphis (Tennessee) by a white segregationist, a fight still relevant.
On April 4, 1968 at 6:01 pm, the black pastor was fatally shot on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, where he had come to support the striking garbage collectors. His death, at the age of 39, sparked riots in several major American cities.
Fifty years later, rallies must pay tribute to him throughout the country: in Washington, the crowd gathered around the statue of his memorial on the Mall, where a rally against racism was organized. Several thousand people gathered in Memphis, where many events are planned in front of the Lorraine Motel, since transformed into a museum. The bells of American churches will ring 39 strokes at the exact time he was shot.
„The most authentic way to honor my father is to commit to creating a more just, peaceful and humane world, that the declarations coincide with deliberate efforts to eradicate poverty, militarism and racism,“ he said. Twitter Bernice King, who participated in the ceremonies in Atlanta, the hometown of Martin Luther King.
Reverend Jesse Jackson, a well-known civil rights activist, visits the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel on April 3, 2018 in Memphis, Tennessee, where MLK was assassinated
The wound of his death „is still a source of pain and anxiety.You remove the crust and the wound is still open,“ said Reverend Jesse Jackson, an emblematic civil rights activist in the United States who was present in Memphis with Pastor King.
Political tributes have multiplied.
Martin Luther King in August 1963 in Washington. This is where he shared his „dream“ with a huge crowd at his feet
„Even though he was taken to this Earth unfairly, he left us a legacy of justice and peace,“ said in an official proclamation President Donald Trump, who was accused of having released the word of the American extreme right by multiplying the anti-immigrant rants.
„Dr. King’s legacy is not only to remember (but) to follow in his footsteps to transform our country,“ said Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, who is in Memphis.
Harassed by the police throughout his political career, the apostle of racial justice and non-violence is now celebrated on a holiday in the United States on the anniversary of his birth on January 15, 1929.
– With Gandhi and Mandela –
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King took the lead in 1955 of the bus boycott movement in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was a Baptist pastor. On August 28, 1963, he delivered his speech „I have a dream“ to some 250,000 protesters in Washington during the March for Jobs and Freedom.
A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent resistance against racial segregation.
Rally in tribute to Martin Luther King in Memphis, April 4, 2018
„It was a man who walked, it was a non-violent man,“ told AFP Elmore Nickleberry, a Memphis garbage man who participated in the 1968 strikes.
„He always said: + Come to the next step + And he said + a non-violent march +“, he adds. „He believed in non-violence, and that’s what I believe in, non-violence.“
At the end of his life, Pastor King had become a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War, while the conflict did not divide the country yet. And part of the black youth no longer believed in pacifist demonstrations to lead the struggle.
And if segregation has been abolished, racism, injustice and violence remain in American society. The city of Memphis „has 63% of African-Americans, the poverty rate is 44% for adults and 30% for children,“ said Jesse Jackson.
„Young people need to understand what is happening today and what was happening before they were born,“ said Dave Bride, an official who came to Memphis.
A woman walks on April 3, 2018 in front of the Clayborn Temple, emblematic site of the garbage workers‘ strike in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968
On CNN, Martin Luther King III, the son of Pastor King, announced Wednesday the upcoming launch of a global initiative, with the families of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, to encourage non-violence among youth.