MLK50 events to honor life, legacy of Dr. King

The Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks at the unveiling of a historical marker at Memphis International Airport commemorating the final flight of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday

On Aug. 28, 1963, King had delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for jobs and Freedom.

King Salim Khalfani is former Virginia State Conference NAACP executive director. If there are folks out here killing us just because of the color of our skin, the threat to those of us who are more vocal becomes that much more real.

President Trump's very first budget blueprint, which proposes an increase in defense spending for 2018 of $54 billion (a 10 percent increase) with $54 billion in cuts to programs serving the poor and vulnerable and addressing basic needs and other non-defense discretionary spending to pay for it, plainly shows Dr. King's message is not being heard or heeded.

The event began with participants singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing", often referred to as the black American national anthem by James Weldon Johnson, and ended with them linking arms and singing "We Shall Overcome", the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. There are those who did not agree with all that Dr. King did, but none can deny his dedication to his cause and the determination and the bravery with which he pursued his course. Not only that, Dr. King was trying to continue to insist on a nonviolent and non-separatist emphasis in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as an expansion in the movement to issues of poverty. Inequality has reached obscene extremes. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. While many whites expressed genuine guilt and sorrow, many others muttered that King had invited his own death.

The Latest on rallies honoring the legacy of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Well, as a powerful coming together, you know, Dr. King saw-that's one of the reasons that people feared him, because he was bringing together the antiwar movement, the concerns about poverty and the civil rights movement.

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The world seems to have forgotten what Martin Luther King, Jr. knew. During slavery we fought, we won. This is an ethic he copped from Jesus and modeled for his country by refusing to hate even the worst bigots and most vicious defenders of segregation, never surrendering hope that each could be transformed by philanthropic love. And we're going to fight for 15 in that city, as those workers are demanding $15 an hour in that city and are challenging the structures there legally and otherwise.

"And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace", said King in his "Beyond Vietnam Speech".

Dr. King was slain April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn. "We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate for our limited vision, but we must speak".

To learn more about this vital speech, we talked to Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, a visiting scholar at the Martin Luther King Papers at Stanford University and a key figure in the Black Lives Matter Movement. Not the Vietnamese. They were part of the Third World upsurge, which had emerged after World War II in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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