MEMPHIS (CBSMiami) – Wednesday marks fifty years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.
Those who remember the civil rights leader are not only looking back at his legacy but ahead to the future.
“We have to say: ‘we’ve come too far, we’re not going back, we’re going to build a beloved community. We’re going to redeem the soul of America,” said Rep. John Lewis, D-GA.
Dr. King was just 39-years-old when he was killing in Memphis. His non-violent protests sparked a movement unparalleled today.
“He brought together preachers and rabbis. He brought together people of every walk of life, from every age and race and every geographic region of the country,” said Senator Kamala Harris, D-CA.
Colin Powell was the nation’s first African-American Secretary of State.
“The way that was made for me was built, a large extent, by what Dr. King did by his great sacrifice,” said Powell.
Loretta Lynch made history as the first black woman Attorney General and believes King’s legacy lives on.
“Whether it’s the Me Too Movement, Black Lives Matter, the Parkland students, these youth-led movements are really a legacy of the Civil Rights Movement also,” she said.
“I think the death of Martin Luther King Jr. maybe, just maybe, took some of the steam out of the movement, but it didn’t stop the movement,” said Lewis.
Dexter Scott King was just seven years old when his father died.
“If he had lived I’m certain he would not have been as effective. Because he gave his life, he was martyred. And then you remember all of the positive things that he left behind,” said King.
Positive things for the nation to savor as Americans remember a leader who preached that only love can drive out hate.
Colleges and activists have organized three days of marches and conferences to remember Dr. King and his legacy. Wednesday the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is holding a daylong observance with speakers, performances, and excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches.