(KMSP) - On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Minnesota civil rights activists are reflecting on his impact and his message, which remains relevant decades later.
“I remember being extraordinary depressed and angry,” said Bill English, a civil rights advocate.
English has a vivid memory of April 4, 1968.
“I watched the tears on so many people’s eyes,” said English.
Back then, English was 33 years old and executive director of the Sabathani Community Center in south Minneapolis. Two years prior, he marched with King in Cicero, Illinois.
“King knew that if you could organize poor whites and blacks that became a powerful political combination,” said English.
Max Fallek, an 88-year-old civil rights advocate, recalls taking part in the March on Washington, where Dr. King delivered his memorable “I Have a Dream Speech,” in 1963.
“Very difficult because we certainly lost one of our great minds in American history and it’s still very hard to comprehend,” said Fallek.
King was standing on a second floor motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee when he was shot and killed by a lone gunman. Fifty years later, the life and legacy of Dr. King continues to have an impact on millions of lives today.
“We’ve certainly made considerable progress but we have to keep working, keep fighting and eventually we’ll get there,” said Fallek.
“It brings me to a place to pause and say, where do we go from here?” said English.