April 4th mark’s 50 years since the assassination of one of America’s most memorable civil rights icons. People across the nation are honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
Temple city leaders, church members and the public gathered at Eighth Street Baptist Church to celebrate the life of Dr. King.
Church bells rung 50 times, marking the anniversary of Dr. King’s death. Back in 1968, Sonjanette Crossley was in high school when she heard the devastating news.
“They announced it. It just rocked our world that day. Everyone was crying and devastated,” Crossley said.
Temple NAACP President Bennie Walsh was just 18 years old at the time.
“It hurt us so badly. We knew because of all the anger out there Dr. King wouldn’t live very much longer,” Walsh said.
Now the day carries a different meaning for the church members. It’s no longer time to mourn, but time to celebrate.
“We realized what Dr. King meant. We changed our way of thinking and started thinking how can we follow the path that Dr. King had a following when he was alive,” Walsh said.
Dr. King’s legacy lives on. To many, he will forever be remembered as a pioneer who paved the way for African-American rights and equality. Now that he’s gone, Crossley said it’s time for others to step up to make a difference.
“A lot of times people are just talking about the past. About what he did. What are you doing?,” Crossley said.
Though the nation has come a long way with regards to race relations, Walsh said there’s still more to be done.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to come together and not fight against each other. To make this world a different place,” Walsh said.