UN Ambassador speaks about Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

UN Ambassador speaks about Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis

(WMC-TV) – Civil rights leader and Former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young delivered the keynote address at a Church Health Center banquet at the Cook Convention Center Friday night.

Young stood on the balcony at the Lorraine Motel on the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed.

Forty-five years later, Ambassador Young sat down to talk with us about why Dr. King was so determined to fight for striking sanitation workers in Memphis, and even lay down his life.

In the spring of 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was determined to come to Memphis.

"Looking back now, I think that he felt his end was near," said Young.  "He came to Memphis, basically because he had good friends here and because he saw the sanitation workers as one of the best symbols of poverty in America."

King's closest friends and advisors, including Andrew Young, wanted Dr. King to stay out of the Bluff City.

"He got very upset with us, because anything that we were excited about, he came along and supported, and he said here is something that I really feel is important and you guys are laying down on me," Young explained.

Ambassador Young, says Dr. King was compelled to help the poor, even it meant laying down his own life.

Young says someone even stabbed King in the heart.

"They stuck a letter opener pressed against the main aorta of his heart and when they removed it, they left a scar on his chest that was like a cross, and he says you all don't know what it's like.  Every morning when I wake up and brush my teeth, I have to face the cross.  I have to live like any day could be my last," Young stated.

While Andrew Young says he misses Dr. King, he feels surrounded by his presence in the way that King's life has continued to influence people around world.

And by the philosophy King lived by: "You don't have anything to say about how you die, or when you die, or even where you die.  The only thing you can influence is what you die for.  And the only way that you can do that, is to make sure you're living for something every day," said Young.

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