National Civil Rights Museum plans yearlong events to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, legacy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Hundreds gathered at the National Civil Rights Museum to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was killed 49 years ago on April 4.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, alongside Ambassador Andrew Young, returned to Memphis to recount the movement and echo King's last writing, "where do we go from here?"

King became involved in the Civil Rights movement in March of 1968. Reverend Jackson was with him when he returned to Memphis the day before he was assassinated.

"I said, 'Dr. King, the prerequisite for dinner was an appetite not a tie.' He said, 'You’re crazy,' We laughed and then he said , 'Ben, be sure to play my favorite song tonight, Precious Lord.'  And I heard 'pow,'" Jackson recalled.

King was shot and killed at the Lorraine Hotel, just a day after speaking at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ.

"To this day, it's fresh. It hurts. He was 39.  He will always be 39.  He will never be an old man. He was 39 at the height of his career. Under so much attack to disrupt him and discredit him,” said Jackson.

Young said the protests and cries of some movements today are out of frustration, but there is a lesson to be learned about taking the peaceful approach in the fight for justice.

“You can’t get angry in a fight.  Anger will kill you before the fight will and so it's no accident that those of us who are living now were those who are nonviolent. The ones who never got angry," said Young.

Hundreds of events will take place throughout the year in honor of King.

Mlk50.civilrightsmuseum.org has information for communities around the country to get involved with the National Civil Rights Museum’s yearlong commemoration from April 4, 2017 to April 4, 2018. Click here to sign up, follow the activities, share events and initiatives, along with stories about how King has inspired you.