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1968:  Martin Luther King assassinated

In this April 3, 1968 file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stands with other civil rights leaders on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., a day before he was assassinated at approximately the same place. From left are Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, King, and Ralph Abernathy. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly, File)

Charles Kelly

“All social change is fueled by blood.”

The words of Claflin University’s Dr. Mitchell Mackinem, an associate professor of sociology, were in answer to a question pertaining to the potential impact of the budding youth movement to reform gun laws. March for Our Lives was born of the killing of 17 students in a mass shooting at a Florida school on Feb. 14.

Mackinem said the young people can have impact if they convince their parents and leaders to take up the torch and effect change in the wake of the most recent bloodshed at an American school.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a primary force for change during the civil rights era. And though the movement he led was devoted to non-violence, the struggle for equal rights in America is filled with much spilled blood.

Today, the nation remembers that King himself was killed amid the civil rights battles, falling to an assassin’s bullet 50 years ago in Memphis, Tenn. His death occurred during a year of turbulence and violence in an America struggling with social change at home and a foreign war in Vietnam.

In his famous words, it is as if King knew he would die before his mission was complete.

In an April 3 sermon, a day before his death, he declared: “(God has) allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you.”

And though America today remains far from the colorblind nation envisioned by King, the importance of his message and the impact he had on society remain.

The country honors the King legacy annually with a national holiday for his birthday in January, but in 2018, the anniversary of the day America lost the civil rights leader is reason to look again at what he stood for and what can be done to push the ideals of peaceful social change and equality for which he stood.

Writing for, Jevon Collins, performing arts program director at The King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio, has compiled a list of 50 ways to honor king on the 50th anniversary of his death.

On this day, we have selected a top 10 from his 50:

1. Learn about his life, read his words, journey through his archives at

2. Martin Luther King, Jr. was best known for encouraging nonviolent resistance. Read the ways in which this strategy was practiced.

3. Understand the primary characteristics of nonviolent resistance. Visit

4. Commit to a year of peace and action with the National Civil Rights Museum. They’ll send you 50 achievable actions to help realize King’s legacy of peace.

5. Share your dream with the world, just as King shared his many dreams.

6. Read a book to children about King or his beliefs.

7. Give of your time and volunteer.

8. Help another learn the English language.

10. Give forgiveness.


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