Roanoke marks 56 years since Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination

Dr. King was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968

ROANOKE, Va. – A unity service took place at Roanoke’s Martin Luther King Jr. statue on Thursday, marking the somber anniversary of the civil rights leader’s assassination.

Dr. King was shot dead on April 4, 1968, while standing on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Exactly 56 years later, city leaders along with church leaders came together to honor his life.

Rev. David Jones was the keynote speaker. He told 10 News the day of Dr. King’s assassination was a day unlike any other.

“It was the first time I saw grown men cry in public. The thought was if they can kill Dr. King they can kill any of us,” Jones said.

The words of Dr. King still reign true in today’s world. However, people tend to only remember the four famous words.

“We’ve reduced everything to a soundbite of ‘I have a dream,’ but he’s had so much more to say. His vision was far more expansive and radical. He talked about basic income, guaranteed income for all citizens in this country. He talked about poverty. He talked about war,” Jones said.

Activists and leaders in the community continue to use Dr. King’s words to fight for similar injustices and equality issues that are still present today.

“That vision, that purpose, that dream was not for just one generation but generations to come. That vision we’re still living it out today. That dream we’re still living it out today. We are realizing that purpose and so it’s important to continue to fight for it,” Bishop JL Jackson said.

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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