Speeches, marches mark Martin Luther King anniversary

MEMPHIS, Tenn.  — Fifty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the civil rights leader’s family and admirers will mark the anniversary of his death with marches, speeches and quiet reflection on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump says it’s up to people, not the government, to achieve the ideals expressed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Trump proclamation says: “We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters lest we perish together as fools.” And he says it’s the people of the United States, not government, who will achieve King’s goals.

Trump proclaimed the anniversary as a day to honor King. He also sent a tweet about King’s legacy.

As part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., two lawyers were awarded a prize celebrating his legacy of nonviolence.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize was presented Wednesday by King’s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, to Benjamin Ferencz and Bryan Stevenson at the King Center in Atlanta.

Ferencz, who recently turned 99, prosecuted Nazi war crimes. He cracked jokes before turning serious and urging the audience to never give up on things that are important.

Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and has devoted his career to helping the poor, those in prison and death row inmates. He said he’s always drawn inspiration from King and said it’s important to continue to demand justice for those who are treated unfairly.

Thousands gathered in Memphis for events to commemorate the anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

One of them was 73-year-old Fredna White from Waco, Texas. She’s retired from the department of Veterans Affairs.

She said the commemoration of King’s assassination brings the issues he fought for back to the forefront — such as equality and economic justice.

She said: “This a good reminder to tell us to get back with it, work it, united for all the causes.”

She said the diverse nature of the crowd gives her hope that “there may be some coming together of our country, our people, our nation.”

The daughter of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called  him “the apostle of nonviolence” on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

The Rev. Bernice King said Wednesday her father was known as a civil rights leader and great orator, and he was both of those things. But she says his message of nonviolence is a vital part of his legacy.

She spoke during a ceremony to award the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize held at the King Center in Atlanta.

The award was being presented to Benjamin Ferencz, a lawyer who prosecuted Nazi war crimes, and Bryan Stevenson, a public interest lawyer who founded and heads the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Indianapolis park where Robert Kennedy called for peace and unity just hours after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. is being designated a National Historic Site.

A bill approved by Congress for the designation was signed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday’s events at the park marking the 50th anniversary of King’s death.

The park near downtown Indianapolis is where Kennedy was to make an April 1968 presidential campaign speech, but instead told the crowd of King’s assassination and asked for a nonviolent reaction.

Participants in Wednesday’s event included Georgia congressman and 1960s civil rights activist John Lewis and Robert Kennedy’s daughter, Kerry Kennedy.

Indianapolis Rep. Andre Carson says he hopes the historic designation is a reminder of the need for non-violence and tolerance.