Knoxville minister still touched by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 45 years after his death

6:51 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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Reverend Harold Middlebrook, minister at Knoxville's Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, remembers the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968 in Memphis.

Reverend Middlebrook was at the Lorraine Motel when Dr. King was assassinated, and he rarely gives interviews on April 4, choosing instead to spend the day in reflection.  "The real life-changer was in 1968, on April 4, and I have never been the same since that day," Dr. Middlebrook told 10News during an interview in February.

On the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, Reverend Middlebrook shared a glimpse of what happened on April 4, 1968.

"Some of us had been in and out of the  room all day,  Dr. King had been teaching us. Dr. King said 'I want you to play Precious Lord and play it real pretty' and he stood up and we heard the pop and he was no more. Sean the attorney, who was trained in criminology, ran out of the parking lot looking but all of the policemen and all the African-American policeman had been withdrawn from the site the day before so there were nothing but white policemen there and they all ran into the courtyard asking us what had happened. You will see on the balcony people pointing across the street but Dr. King was really gone before he left the balcony he looked at Ralph (Abernathy) as their eyes locked as if to say to him 'You gotta carry it on now.'" 

The night before his assassination,  Dr. King gave his last and one of his most famous speeches. "I've Been to the Mountaintop" was delivered at Memphis' Mason Temple and ended with the haunting words:

"Like anybody, I would like to live a long life," King said on April 3, 1968. "Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!"

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