Church service to honor MLK’s legacy 50 years after his death

Holly Viers • Apr 3, 2018 at 5:28 PM

KINGSPORT — On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, sending shock waves throughout the nation.

Now, on the 50-year anniversary of his death, community members are invited to remember King’s legacy with a special program called “The Life and Visions of Dr. Martin Luther King: Fifty Year Memorial.”

“We’re praying that we will not only lift up the memories of Dr. King, but also show that as Americans, we can still be united,” said the Rev. Kenneth Calvert, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church. “We know there’s a lot that still needs to be done, and that will continue consistently. However, it is good to know that we can make a difference and push forward to make life better.”

When and where: The service will be held Wednesday at Shiloh Baptist Church, located at 712 E. Sevier Ave. in Kingsport. Calvert said it will begin at 7 p.m. and conclude at 8:05 p.m., two times that are significant to King’s death.

“It was approximately 6:01 p.m. Memphis time, Central Standard Time, when Dr. King was shot, and he was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. Central Standard Time,” Calvert said. “In Kingsport time, that would place us at 7:01 and at 8:05. So we’re trying to fit the program within those two time frames.”

What to expect: The program, sponsored by South Central Kingsport Community Development and New Vision Youth, will include a partial reading of King’s last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” which he gave the day before his death.

New Vision Youth children will also participate, and dancers from Shiloh Baptist Church will perform an expressive dance called “Break These Chains.”

Why you should come: Calvert said the event will give people a chance to reflect not only on King’s life, but also on how King’s legacy has affected their lives.

“His life totally changed my life and so many other Americans,” Calvert said. “So this is, once again, a way of just having personal reflection on that.”