FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Hundreds of Kentuckians honored the late Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, rallying on the same spot where the civil rights leader led a civil rights march in 1964.
“They marched for justice and equality, for equal protection under just laws,” said Crystal DeGregory, a professor at nearby Kentucky State University. “They marched for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. They marched for good jobs and funding for public education. They marched to forge a better nation and for creation of a better, more just and equitable world.”
Christian Motley, director of the New Leaders Council Kentucky, told people gathered outside the Capitol that standing where King once stood felt like standing on hallowed ground.
State Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, said sports legend Jackie Robinson and Kentucky civil rights leader Georgia Powers were among the estimated 10,000 people who joined with King that day.
“They were seeking what we all want: equality and justice,” Graham said.
Graham said King’s efforts in Frankfort were ultimately successful. “Kentucky,” he said, “would go on to become the first state in the South to pass civil rights legislation.”
Four years after the Frankfort march, King was fatally shot on April 4, 1968 while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
“Fifty years to the day a bullet killed the dreamer,” DeGregory said. “We are here because we still believe in the dream, and that is why we march.”