No matter the weather, Turner ready for MLK dedication - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

No matter the weather, Turner ready for MLK dedication

(WMC-TV) - The dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC is scheduled to go on as planned, despite Hurricane Irene's threat to the East Coast.

And former Memphis NAACP leader Johnnie Turner said Thursday she is ready to wait out the storm.

Turner was in the audience during Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's March on Washington speech back in 1963, and at many other speeches after that.

"I was at every march that Dr. King had during the sanitation strike," Turner said Thursday. "I heard every speech he ever gave in Memphis during that period."

Turner also traveled to D.C. for the 20th, 30th, and 40th celebrations of King's March on Washington.

She credits King with inspiring her to join the sit-in movement and other protests around the country.

"He had a commitment to a cause far greater than himself," she said.

So when plans for the memorial honoring Dr. King were announced for August 28, Turner made plans to be there. And she says talk about a hurricane possibly postponing the ceremony won't stop her...

"If it happens, if they say go, I'm gone," she said.

Even today, you can still hear King's influence in what Turner thinks and says.

"One of the most striking comments he made was, 'We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters, or perish as fools,'" she said.

Turner said understands and respects the decision some may make to not attend the King Memorial ceremony because of the hurricane, but for her, attending is not a choice - it's a duty.

UPDATE: Late Thursday night, organizers announced the dedication of the memorial would be delayed indefinitely due to Hurricane Irene.

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