• Mason Temple added to Civil Rights Pilgrimage

    By: Jerrita Patterson


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A political pilgrimage made its way into Memphis Friday led by Congressman and activist John Lewis.  
    The historic Mason Temple was the first stop for this tour of sites.  

    It was at the Temple nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful "Mountaintop" speech--the night before he was assassinated.  It's a time in history, Elmore Nickleberry will never forget.

    "Anytime a man comes from where he comes from and then he's going to come speak and get killed, it made me feel real bad," Nickleberry said.  "Most times I don't like to talk about it, but I'll talk about it sometimes."

    What Mr. Nickleberry does want to talk about is how to move Memphis forward.

    "We still need to fight, keep fighting," Nickleberry said.  "We have to keep the movement going."

    Mr. Nickleberry, who has been with the sanitation department for 64 years knows all too well, the importance of moving forward.  

    Students from as far away as California and community members filed into the Temple after an extensive security sweep by ground and air.

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    Congresman Steve Cohen was also in attendance to offer remarks before heading to the Lorraine Motel.  

    This is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum and it was also the second stop on the Civil Rights Pilgrimage.  

    A wreath marks the spot where a single shot claimed the life of Dr. King in 1968.  Mr. Nickleberry said admittedly he's still concern Dr. King's dream is not being fulfilled.

    "In a way we are backsliding, we need to go forward because there are a lot of things that happen in Memphis," Nickleberry said.

    "There's a lot of people from Memphis and he came to help all peoples, and he got killed.  I feel mighty bad about that."

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