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Rebuilding Iraq

Antiwar legacy cited on King anniversary

By Woody Baird, Associated Press, 4/5/2003

    Rebuilding Iraq

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 TEXT

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MEMPHIS - Marchers remembering the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King 35 years ago were joined yesterday by antiwar demonstrators.

Several hundred people marched more than a mile to Mason Temple, a church where King gave his "I have been to the mountaintop" speech the night before he was killed.

King was in Memphis to lead a garbage workers' strike when he was shot April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Escaped convict James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to the murder. He died in prison in 1998.

Sanitation worker Curtis Gordon, 48, said he joins commemorative programs each year in King's honor.

"It helps a lot. I think about the things he stood for," Gordon said.

People opposed to the war with Iraq used the anniversary to highlight King's message of peace.

In the crowd, demonstrators carried signs reading: "Remember King. Oppose Racism, War and Terrorism" and "Keep the dream alive. Find an alternative to war and destruction."

King, a champion of nonviolent social change, opposed the Vietnam War.

"Dr. King was concerned about a war in a distant land, and today we are at war in a distant land," said Hal Fogelman, a member of the National Conference for Community and Justice, a race relations advocacy group. "We pray for the swift and safe return of our troops and the safety of the innocent civilian population of Iraq."

A memorial service for King was scheduled at Mason Temple after the march, which began at LeMoyne-Owen College. Other events planned yesterday included a candlelight prayer vigil at the former Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum.

This story ran on page A4 of the Boston Globe on 4/5/2003.
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