Marchers honor Martin Luther King on 40th anniversary - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Marchers honor Martin Luther King on 40th anniversary

Forty years ago, a civil rights hero was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

Friday, the entire world is watched as Memphis honored the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death.

Marchers walked in the rain under an army of umbrellas to the beat of drums from the AFSCME Union Hall to the balcony where Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior was assassinated.

An assassin killed Doctor King before he could march in support of AFSCME sanitation workers 40 years ago.

Jesse Epps was in charge of AFSCME at the time.  He called King to come to Memphis and authored the phrase I Am A Man.

"We were trying to conjure up the best and simple way to convey the message of the struggle," Epps said.
He said America must bring King's dream into fruition.

"Coming under God's banner of one race, the human race," Epps said.

Sanitation workers, old and new, carried the I Am A Man signs as did those who came before them 40 years earlier.

They came from all over the nation.  Gregory Neods drove in from Atlanta.

"What happened 40 years was my duty to come down here," Neods said.

After King's death, 35-year sanitation worker Alvin Turner was promoted.

"I'm hoping that we can regroup and prove to the word that this man didn't die for nothing," Turner said.

They said the pouring rain could not keep them from this moment and they hope King's legacy of peace and justice will enter the hearts of all Americans.

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