Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks about poverty, racism ahead of MLK50

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A legendary Civil Rights leader formally kicking off a week of commemorations of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death.

Rev. Jesse Jackson said he would like to see Memphians fighting against poverty. Jackson said to get there, it starts with Memphians making their voices heard at the polls.

"The poverty in the greater Memphis area is abounding," he said.

Jackson spoke about poverty, racism, and the legacy of Dr. King in front of hundreds of people at Mt. Olive Cathedral CME Church.

He detailed private conversations he had with Dr. King before their trip to Memphis.

Jackson said in light of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination, the focus should be on the war on poverty, and that starts with affordable heath care, affordable education, and addressing gun violence.

"We must ban assault weapons and stop the killing. We live in the most violent nation on earth. We are killing each other. We make too many guns," Jackson said.

Jackson is sending a message to those looking for change--vote in the upcoming elections.

"Four million blacks in the South unregistered, 2.5 million that did not vote. That will change," he said.

Jackson has several events planned over the next couple of days, including visits the sites of the recently closed Kroger locations.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.