Students, civil rights leaders travel for 50th anniversary of MLK's assassination

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

AP Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was standing outside on the balcony at the Lorraine Motel when he was assassinated.

And that includes this powerful, heartfelt discussion between Barack Obama, the nation's first African-American president, and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) who is himself an important figure of the Civil Rights movement, having worked alongside King. "It was more like peace, like, 'Wow, this is sacred ground, '" Stewart said. He had been there to support sanitation workers in their bid for higher pay. Modern civil rights campaigners the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton were expected to attend the service in Memphis.

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But rather than despair, the resounding message repeated at the commemorations was one of resilience, resolve and a renewed commitment to King's legacy and unfinished work. King visited Karamu in 1963 while in town to deliver a speech at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. Nancy Shipley was working in AP's office in Nashville, Tennessee, when the call came 50 years ago.

On Jan. 21, 1965, 8,000 Penn Staters crammed into Rec Hall to listen to Martin Luther King Jr. speak. "But we kept going". We still have a long way to go, but the journey toward justice continues.

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A gospel singer led a rousing rendition of Lift Every Voice And Sing, and the gathering took on the air of a mass meeting.

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