Thousands remember MLK on what would've been his 89th birthday

Waiting in line outside the NCRM (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Waiting in line outside the NCRM (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - For so many, this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a bittersweet day of remembrance, even 50 years after his death.

"Dr. King was a man of equal rights for everybody," Yolanda Hall said.

Many said this milestone year, which marked King's 89th birthday, is different, especially for those who marched alongside Dr. King and believed in his vision.

"I was there for that last march he had, March 28, 1968," said Reverend Dr. James Netters. "I was right behind him."

Months before MLK 50, thousands of people packed the National Civil Rights Museum to pay their respects.

"This was his 89th birthday, he got a lot done in his 39 years," said Faith Morris with NCRM.

Many said this milestone year is the perfect time to actively bring about the change that Dr. King died advocating.

Rev. Netters has fought for peace and nonviolence for decades and said the crime in the city of Memphis is disappointing.

"I want to see more of our young people who are on the streets shooting each other, robbing and stealing, to realize what kind of price has been paid," Rev. Netters said.

For Rev Netters, Dr. King was way more than a friend.

"He has been the greatest inspiration in my life, second to Jesus Christ," Rev. Netters said.

And what better time to continue fighting--like King did for equality, justice, and non-violence?

"Let's do more than plan, because we do need to plan," Morris said. "But let's really take a hard look and some actionable steps."

"There's still a whole lot more to go and a whole lot more to do," Rev. Netters said.

The National Civil Rights Museum said there were 10,200 people who went through the museum Monday, including volunteers, staff, organizations, and entertainment.

To read more on the events planned now and leading up to MLK 50, click here.

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