Ceremony honors life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Fifty years ago the world lost Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

He was in Memphis, Tennessee when an assassin’s bullet took his life in 1968.

What many do not know is that he was supposed to be here in Wilmington that day.

That’s why Wednesday night the community and state leaders came to Williston Middle School to celebrate him and champion his message.

Fifty years later the man could not come to the stage, but his message did.

“It killed neither his heavenly spirit nor his spirit of the fight for justice that he left for us to continue,” Governor Roy Cooper said.

Governor Roy Cooper was among the many key figures packed the Williston gymnasium Dr. King could have spoken at if his schedule did not keep him in Tennessee.

Former alumni from then and Wilmington civil rights icons, like Joseph McNeil, paid their respects and voiced for a continued effort.

“We’ve come too far, to turn back so we’re committed to make the system work,” McNeil said.

A system that Cooper and others think still has room to grow to reach the dream of Dr. King.

“The issues that Doctor King fought for, died for are issues, they were here fifty years ago and some of them are still here today,” Williston High School Class of 1959 graduate, Barbara Kamara said.

Fitting, as King watches now from the true mountaintop. It’s the message for equality that rings out in Williston just as much as the remembrance of the man.

“So today, 50 years since those shots ranged out in Memphis I am calling on all of us to keep North Carolina moving forward,” Cooper said.

“I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the promise land,” King said the night before he died in 1968.

At 7:01 the bell was rung 39 times not only in the gym but at several local churches to mark doctor king’s age when he died.

Governor Cooper made today an official day of remembrance in North Carolina in honor of Dr. King.

“Now, therefore, I, Roy Cooper, Governor of the state of North Carolina, do hereby proclaim April 4, 2018 as a day in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in North Carolina and commend its observance to all our citizens.”


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