Marchers honor MLKJ’s final speech

Marchers moved from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge to First Presbyterian Church

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – People marched in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last words to nation, which he gave 48 years ago on the same date.

King gave his “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” speech on April 3, 1968, a day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. While the world lost the hero, civil rights activist Dr. C.T. Vivian lost a friend. He came to Fort Wayne on Sunday to join the city in its remembrance of the speech.

“It doesn’t matter who you are in this country, the Civil Rights Movement changed you,” he said. “Nobody here is the same as they were before Martin.”

More than 100 people took the one-mile unity march from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge to First Presbyterian Church on Wayne St.

“I am just thankful that this city is marching on the day that the outstanding minister of our time led a movement that’s the greatest movement of our period and that this city decided to continue doing the work that it’s been doing on this issue that is not yet over,” said Vivian.

The 91-year-old is a lifelong fighter for social justice and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Every day that you do something that causes people to be able to look forward to a better tomorrow is a good day,” Vivian said, reflecting on the day’s event.

After the march, a unity service was held at the church in which Vivian shared his memories of King. Other speakers included Fort Wayne Police Chief Garry Hamilton and the event organizer and senior pastor of Imani Baptist Temple Rev. Bill McGill, who read an excerpt of “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top.”

King spoke in Fort Wayne on June 5, 1963 at Scottish Rite auditorium, which is now a part of the University of Saint Francis. At Sunday’s unity service, Vivian spoke behind the actual pulpit that King spoke from on that visit to the Summit City.

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