WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The night that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis,Tennessee, he was scheduled to be in Wilmington.
The civil rights leader was to speak at Williston High School that night to headline a voter registration drive, but was persuaded to remain in Memphis another day in support of that city’s sanitation workers’ strike.
Now, 50 years later, a coalition of Wilmington civic, and non-profit, and religious
leaders is organizing an event to remember Dr. King’s final days and to imagine how
his life and the nation’s history might be different if he had kept to his original
On Wednesday, the anniversary of Dr. King’s death, the public is invited
to gather in the gym of Williston Middle School where Dr. King would have spoken.
The program will feature music of the Civil Rights Era, video footage of the
assassination, and clips from his famous “Mountaintop” speech.
Governor Roy Cooper will give a speech in regard to Dr. King and his life’s
“We believe that the 50 Year Commemoration event will be a wonderful
opportunity for the Wilmington community, in all its diversity, to gather under one
roof and celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,”
says New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David. “Dr. King’s life and legacy
represents a moral high point in America’s recent history that has inspired people all
over the world, and can serve to further unify our community.”
David co-chairs the MLK Commemoration Commission, along with Bertha B.
Todd, a retired New Hanover County educator who worked at Williston High School during Dr. King’s assassination.
The 50 Year Commemoration begins at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.
The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and the Wilmington Police Department will be on hand to help with crowd management. No weapons or large bags are allowed at this event.
You can learn more about the 50 Year Commemoration here.