50 years later, MLK memorial visitors reflect on past, future civil rights fight

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Visitors to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial are reflecting on the state of King’s fight for civil rights. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
A participant in the Rally to End Racism displays buttons of causes they support. (WTOP/Kristi King)
A participant in the Rally to End Racism displays buttons of various causes they support. The rally was held on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Wearing a t-shirt of Martin Luther King, Jr., Debra Payne, of Kansas City, Missouri, sings "This Little Light of Mine," next to Jo-Lynn Gilliam, of East Point, Ga., as they attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Wearing a t-shirt of Martin Luther King, Jr., Debra Payne, of Kansas City, Missouri, sings “This Little Light of Mine,” next to Jo-Lynn Gilliam, of East Point, Ga., as they attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Leonard Patterson, of Manassas, Va., holds a hand made sign thanking Martin Luther King Jr., while attending the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of King's assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Leonard Patterson, of Manassas, Va., holds a hand made sign thanking Martin Luther King Jr., while attending the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Father Yeprem Kelegian, left, and Father Avedis Kalayjian, both clergy in the Armenian Church, and Cheyanne Friend, center right, with her husband Darin Friend, of Charleston, W.V., attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Father Yeprem Kelegian, left, and Father Avedis Kalayjian, both clergy in the Armenian Church, and Cheyanne Friend, center right, with her husband Darin Friend, of Charleston, W.V., attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Visitors to the MLK, Jr. Memorial are discussing King's eloquence and ability to mobilize people of many backgrounds. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Visitors to the MLK, Jr. Memorial are discussing King’s eloquence and ability to mobilize people of many backgrounds. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein) (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Aaron Ward, of Washington, center, attends the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Milton A. Williams, left, pastor of Pennsylvania Ave. AME Zion Church in Baltimore and Ruth LaToison Ifill, with AME Zion Church, right. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Aaron Ward, of Washington, center, attends the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Milton A. Williams, left, pastor of Pennsylvania Ave. AME Zion Church in Baltimore and Ruth LaToison Ifill, with AME Zion Church, right. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Milton A. Williams, left, pastor of Pennsylvania Ave. AME Zion Church in Baltimore, Ruth LaToison Ifill, with AME Zion Church, Stephen Marencic, of Washington, and Aaron Ward, of Washington, attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Milton A. Williams, left, pastor of Pennsylvania Ave. AME Zion Church in Baltimore, Ruth LaToison Ifill, with AME Zion Church, Stephen Marencic, of Washington, and Aaron Ward, of Washington, attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Debbie Davis, of Milwaukee, Wisc., dressed on stilts as "lady liberty," gets a high five from Trinity Mitchell, 8, of Canton, Ohio, as they attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. At left is Art Laffin, of Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Debbie Davis, of Milwaukee, Wisc., dressed on stilts as “lady liberty,” gets a high five from Trinity Mitchell, 8, of Canton, Ohio, as they attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. At left is Art Laffin, of Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Molly Jackman, of Kensington, Md., holds up a sign with a silhouette of Martin Luther King Jr., while attending the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of King's assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Molly Jackman, of Kensington, Md., holds up a sign with a silhouette of Martin Luther King Jr., while attending the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Attendees of the Rally to End Racism display a "Black Lives Matter" banner. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Attendees of the Rally to End Racism hold up a “Black Lives Matter” banner. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Eric McLaughlin, 14, left, and his cousin Markale McLean, 13, both of Washington, wave to Carolyn McCarthy, dressed on stilts as "Lady Justice," and Debbie Davis, dressed as "Lady Liberty," both of Milwaukee, Wisc., as they attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Eric McLaughlin, 14, left, and his cousin Markale McLean, 13, both of Washington, wave to Carolyn McCarthy, dressed on stilts as “Lady Justice,” and Debbie Davis, dressed as “Lady Liberty,” both of Milwaukee, Wisc., as they attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
Carolyn McCarthy, dressed on stilts as "Lady Justice," left, and Debbie Davis, dressed as "Lady Liberty," both of Milwaukee, Wisc., attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Carolyn McCarthy, dressed on stilts as “Lady Justice,” left, and Debbie Davis, dressed as “Lady Liberty,” both of Milwaukee, Wisc., attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
FILE – In this Aug. 28, 1963 file photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington. (AP Photo/File) (AP)
People show their support as they listen to speakers at the Rally to End Racism held on the anniversary of MLK's assassination. (WTOP/Kristi King)
People show their support as they listen to speakers at the Rally to End Racism held on the anniversary of MLK’s assassination. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
FILE - In this March 22, 1956, file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is welcomed with a kiss by his wife, Coretta, after leaving court in Montgomery, Ala. King was found guilty of conspiracy to boycott city buses in a campaign to desegregate the bus system, but a judge suspended his $500 fine pending appeal. (AP Photo/Gene Herrick, File)
FILE – In this March 22, 1956, file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is welcomed with a kiss by his wife, Coretta, after leaving court in Montgomery, Ala. King was found guilty of conspiracy to boycott city buses in a campaign to desegregate the bus system, but a judge suspended his $500 fine pending appeal. (AP Photo/Gene Herrick, File) (AP/Gene Herrick)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. under arrest by Atlanta Police Captain R.E. Little, left rear, passes through a picket line in front of a downtown department store on Oct. 9, 1960.  with King is another demonstration leader, Lonnie King and an unidentified woman.  The integration leader was among the 48 African-Americans arrested following demonstrations at several department and variety stores protesting lunch counter segregation.  (AP Photo/stf)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. under arrest by Atlanta Police Captain R.E. Little, left rear, passes through a picket line in front of a downtown department store on Oct. 9, 1960. with King is another demonstration leader, Lonnie King and an unidentified woman. The integration leader was among the 48 African-Americans arrested following demonstrations at several department and variety stores protesting lunch counter segregation. (AP Photo/stf) (AP)
FILE - In this July 27, 1962 file photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is arrested by Albany's Chief of Police Laurie Pritchett after praying at City Hall in Albany, Ga. King participated in a month's long campaign of local anti-segregation led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (AP Photo, File)
FILE – In this July 27, 1962 file photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is arrested by Albany’s Chief of Police Laurie Pritchett after praying at City Hall in Albany, Ga. King participated in a month’s long campaign of local anti-segregation led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (AP Photo, File) (AP)
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy talks with civil rights leaders on the White House grounds, June 22, 1963. From left: Kennedy; Rev. Martin Luther King, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the NAACP, and A. Phillip Randolph, president, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Joseph Rauh, civil rights lawyer, is in background at center. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz)
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy talks with civil rights leaders on the White House grounds, June 22, 1963. From left: Kennedy; Rev. Martin Luther King, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the NAACP, and A. Phillip Randolph, president, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Joseph Rauh, civil rights lawyer, is in background at center. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz) (AP/Bob Schutz)
FILE- In this Aug. 28, 1963, black-and-white file photo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. (AP Photo/File)
FILE- In this Aug. 28, 1963, black-and-white file photo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses marchers during his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. (AP Photo/File) (AP)
Kennedy Civil Rights
FILE – In this Aug. 28, 1963 file photo, President John F. Kennedy stands with a group of leaders of the March on Washington, at the White House. From left are Whitney Young, National Urban League; Martin Luther King Jr., Southern Christian Leadership Conference; John Lewis, Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee; Rabbi Joachim Prinz, American Jewish Congress; Dr. Eugene P. Donnaly, National Council of Churches; A. Philip Randolph, AFL-CIO vice president; Kennedy; Walter Reuther, United Auto Workers; Vice-President Johnson, rear, and Roy Wilkins, NAACP. (AP Photo) (AP)
Johnson King Wilkins Young
FILE – In this Jan. 18, 1964 file photo, President Lyndon B. Johnson, right, talks with civil rights leaders in the White House in Washington. From left, are, Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; James Farmer, national director of the Committee on Racial Equality; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Whitney Young, executive director of the Urban League. (AP Photo, File) (AP)
FILE - In this June 12, 1964 file photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to Andrew Young as King rides in the back seat of a police car with a police dog as he is returned to jail in St. Augustine, Fla., after testifying before a grand jury investigating racial unrest in the city. (AP Photo, File)
FILE – In this June 12, 1964 file photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to Andrew Young as King rides in the back seat of a police car with a police dog as he is returned to jail in St. Augustine, Fla., after testifying before a grand jury investigating racial unrest in the city. (AP Photo, File) (AP)
The Rev. Martin Luther King addresses a crowd estimated at 70,000 at a civil rights rally in Chicago’s Soldier Fielld June 21, 1964. King told the rally that congressional approval of civil rights legislation heralds “The dawn of a new hope for the Negro.” (AP Photo/Charles E. Knoblock)
The Rev. Martin Luther King addresses a crowd estimated at 70,000 at a civil rights rally in Chicago’s Soldier Fielld June 21, 1964. King told the rally that congressional approval of civil rights legislation heralds “The dawn of a new hope for the Negro.” (AP Photo/Charles E. Knoblock) (AP/Charles E Knoblock)
In his photo released by the Vatican, Pope Paul VI poses at the Vatican with American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during a private audience, Sept. 18, 1964.  With the pontiff and King are Msgr. Paolo Marcinkus of Chicago, who acted as interpreter, and with King is his aide, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, right. (AP Photo/Vatican Photo)
In his photo released by the Vatican, Pope Paul VI poses at the Vatican with American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during a private audience, Sept. 18, 1964. With the pontiff and King are Msgr. Paolo Marcinkus of Chicago, who acted as interpreter, and with King is his aide, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, right. (AP Photo/Vatican Photo) (AP)
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 1964 file photo, U.S. civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King receives the Nobel Peace Prize from Gunnar Jahn, chairman of the Nobel Committee, in Oslo, Norway. (AP Photo, File)
FILE – In this Dec. 10, 1964 file photo, U.S. civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King receives the Nobel Peace Prize from Gunnar Jahn, chairman of the Nobel Committee, in Oslo, Norway. (AP Photo, File) (AP)
Carl Golson, Martin Luther King Jr
FILE – In this March 1, 1965 file photo, registrar Carl Golson shakes a finger at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during meeting at the courthouse in Hayneyville, Ala. King inquired about voter registration procedures but Golson told him that if he was not a prospective voter in Lowndes county, “It’s none of your business.” King visited two nearby counties after leading a voter registration drive in Selma. (AP Photo/Horace Cort, File) (AP/Horace Cort)
The Rev. Martin Luther King, integration leader, addresses a crowd on a street in Lakeview, New York May 12, 1965. The Nobel Prize winner arrived in the day from Atlanta, Ga., for a whirlwind tour of Nassau County to advance the cause of African Americans in that area. (AP Photo)
The Rev. Martin Luther King, integration leader, addresses a crowd on a street in Lakeview, New York May 12, 1965. The Nobel Prize winner arrived in the day from Atlanta, Ga., for a whirlwind tour of Nassau County to advance the cause of African Americans in that area. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Anonymous)
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., center foreground, walks in vanguard of crowd estimated at more than 10,000 persons who gathered in downtown Chicago, July 26, 1965 to protest segregation in the city's schools. (AP Photo)
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., center foreground, walks in vanguard of crowd estimated at more than 10,000 persons who gathered in downtown Chicago, July 26, 1965 to protest segregation in the city’s schools. (AP Photo) (AP/Anonymous)
Dr. Martin Luther King civil rights leader testifying before the Senate Government Operations subcommittee, December 15, 1966. (AP Photo)
Dr. Martin Luther King civil rights leader testifying before the Senate Government Operations subcommittee, December 15, 1966. (AP Photo) (AP/Anonymous)
FILE - In this March 31, 1968 file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., left, who heads the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, preaches to a capacity crowd from the pulpit at the National Cathedral in Washington. King spoke from the Cathedral's Canterbury Pulpit. It would be his last Sunday sermon before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis. (AP Photo/John Rous, File)
FILE – In this March 31, 1968 file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., left, who heads the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, preaches to a capacity crowd from the pulpit at the National Cathedral in Washington. King spoke from the Cathedral’s Canterbury Pulpit. It would be his last Sunday sermon before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis. (AP Photo/John Rous, File) (AP/John Rous)
In this April 3, 1968 photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., center, and his aides walk at the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tenn., discussing the restraining order King had just received barring them from leading another march in Memphis without court approval. On April 4, at 6:01 p.m., an assassin's bullet found Dr. King on the balcony of the Lorraine just outside his second-floor room, killing him. (Barney Sellers/The Commercial Appeal via AP)
In this April 3, 1968 photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., center, and his aides walk at the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tenn., discussing the restraining order King had just received barring them from leading another march in Memphis without court approval. On April 4, at 6:01 p.m., an assassin’s bullet found Dr. King on the balcony of the Lorraine just outside his second-floor room, killing him. (Barney Sellers/The Commercial Appeal via AP) (AP/Barney Sellers)
FILE - In this April 3, 1968 file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stands with other civil rights leaders on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., a day before he was assassinated at approximately the same place. From left are Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, King, and Ralph Abernathy. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly, File)
FILE – In this April 3, 1968 file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stands with other civil rights leaders on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., a day before he was assassinated at approximately the same place. From left are Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, King, and Ralph Abernathy. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly, File) (AP/Charles Kelly)
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The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
A participant in the Rally to End Racism displays buttons of causes they support. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Wearing a t-shirt of Martin Luther King, Jr., Debra Payne, of Kansas City, Missouri, sings "This Little Light of Mine," next to Jo-Lynn Gilliam, of East Point, Ga., as they attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Leonard Patterson, of Manassas, Va., holds a hand made sign thanking Martin Luther King Jr., while attending the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of King's assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Father Yeprem Kelegian, left, and Father Avedis Kalayjian, both clergy in the Armenian Church, and Cheyanne Friend, center right, with her husband Darin Friend, of Charleston, W.V., attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Visitors to the MLK, Jr. Memorial are discussing King's eloquence and ability to mobilize people of many backgrounds. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Aaron Ward, of Washington, center, attends the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Milton A. Williams, left, pastor of Pennsylvania Ave. AME Zion Church in Baltimore and Ruth LaToison Ifill, with AME Zion Church, right. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Milton A. Williams, left, pastor of Pennsylvania Ave. AME Zion Church in Baltimore, Ruth LaToison Ifill, with AME Zion Church, Stephen Marencic, of Washington, and Aaron Ward, of Washington, attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Debbie Davis, of Milwaukee, Wisc., dressed on stilts as "lady liberty," gets a high five from Trinity Mitchell, 8, of Canton, Ohio, as they attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. At left is Art Laffin, of Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Molly Jackman, of Kensington, Md., holds up a sign with a silhouette of Martin Luther King Jr., while attending the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of King's assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Attendees of the Rally to End Racism display a "Black Lives Matter" banner. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Eric McLaughlin, 14, left, and his cousin Markale McLean, 13, both of Washington, wave to Carolyn McCarthy, dressed on stilts as "Lady Justice," and Debbie Davis, dressed as "Lady Liberty," both of Milwaukee, Wisc., as they attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Carolyn McCarthy, dressed on stilts as "Lady Justice," left, and Debbie Davis, dressed as "Lady Liberty," both of Milwaukee, Wisc., attend the A.C.T. To End Racism rally, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
People show their support as they listen to speakers at the Rally to End Racism held on the anniversary of MLK's assassination. (WTOP/Kristi King)
FILE - In this March 22, 1956, file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is welcomed with a kiss by his wife, Coretta, after leaving court in Montgomery, Ala. King was found guilty of conspiracy to boycott city buses in a campaign to desegregate the bus system, but a judge suspended his $500 fine pending appeal. (AP Photo/Gene Herrick, File)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. under arrest by Atlanta Police Captain R.E. Little, left rear, passes through a picket line in front of a downtown department store on Oct. 9, 1960.  with King is another demonstration leader, Lonnie King and an unidentified woman.  The integration leader was among the 48 African-Americans arrested following demonstrations at several department and variety stores protesting lunch counter segregation.  (AP Photo/stf)
FILE - In this July 27, 1962 file photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is arrested by Albany's Chief of Police Laurie Pritchett after praying at City Hall in Albany, Ga. King participated in a month's long campaign of local anti-segregation led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (AP Photo, File)
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy talks with civil rights leaders on the White House grounds, June 22, 1963. From left: Kennedy; Rev. Martin Luther King, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Roy Wilkins, executive secretary of the NAACP, and A. Phillip Randolph, president, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Joseph Rauh, civil rights lawyer, is in background at center. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz)
FILE- In this Aug. 28, 1963, black-and-white file photo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. (AP Photo/File)
Kennedy Civil Rights
Johnson King Wilkins Young
FILE - In this June 12, 1964 file photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to Andrew Young as King rides in the back seat of a police car with a police dog as he is returned to jail in St. Augustine, Fla., after testifying before a grand jury investigating racial unrest in the city. (AP Photo, File)
The Rev. Martin Luther King addresses a crowd estimated at 70,000 at a civil rights rally in Chicago’s Soldier Fielld June 21, 1964. King told the rally that congressional approval of civil rights legislation heralds “The dawn of a new hope for the Negro.” (AP Photo/Charles E. Knoblock)
In his photo released by the Vatican, Pope Paul VI poses at the Vatican with American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during a private audience, Sept. 18, 1964.  With the pontiff and King are Msgr. Paolo Marcinkus of Chicago, who acted as interpreter, and with King is his aide, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, right. (AP Photo/Vatican Photo)
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 1964 file photo, U.S. civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King receives the Nobel Peace Prize from Gunnar Jahn, chairman of the Nobel Committee, in Oslo, Norway. (AP Photo, File)
Carl Golson, Martin Luther King Jr
The Rev. Martin Luther King, integration leader, addresses a crowd on a street in Lakeview, New York May 12, 1965. The Nobel Prize winner arrived in the day from Atlanta, Ga., for a whirlwind tour of Nassau County to advance the cause of African Americans in that area. (AP Photo)
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., center foreground, walks in vanguard of crowd estimated at more than 10,000 persons who gathered in downtown Chicago, July 26, 1965 to protest segregation in the city's schools. (AP Photo)
Dr. Martin Luther King civil rights leader testifying before the Senate Government Operations subcommittee, December 15, 1966. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this March 31, 1968 file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., left, who heads the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, preaches to a capacity crowd from the pulpit at the National Cathedral in Washington. King spoke from the Cathedral's Canterbury Pulpit. It would be his last Sunday sermon before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis. (AP Photo/John Rous, File)
In this April 3, 1968 photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., center, and his aides walk at the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tenn., discussing the restraining order King had just received barring them from leading another march in Memphis without court approval. On April 4, at 6:01 p.m., an assassin's bullet found Dr. King on the balcony of the Lorraine just outside his second-floor room, killing him. (Barney Sellers/The Commercial Appeal via AP)
FILE - In this April 3, 1968 file photo, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stands with other civil rights leaders on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., a day before he was assassinated at approximately the same place. From left are Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, King, and Ralph Abernathy. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly, File)

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can find more coverage on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and its aftermath at WTOP’s D.C. Uprising: Voices from the 1968 Riots.

WASHINGTON — On the 50th anniversary of his assassination, few visitors to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial would describe his expression captured in granite as “satisfied.”

“He’s looking out over us, into the future, kind of gazing past us,” said Gail Dixon, during her first visit to the memorial, dedicated in 2011, overlooking the Tidal Basin. “He’s not looking down on us, but he’s looking out, like the work is still out there to be done.”

From Columbus, Ohio, Dixon was a young girl when King was shot and killed April 4, 1968. She said she has tried to paint a picture for her teenage daughter about the hope that King elicited for blacks, whites, and people of all colors.

“It was a time where things are possible. And you realize that change is possible and needed, and you can’t just talk about it, or pray about it, you have to do it,” Dixon said.

Her daughter, CharAnna said King’s message resonated with her.

“Change is possible — we have to put the work behind it, and he had to sacrifice his life for it, but change is possible,” CharAnna Dixon said. “That’s what helps me believe that we can move forward.”

Gazing at the statue of King, standing with arms crossed, looking toward the Jefferson Memorial, many visitors remarked on King’s bravery and magnetism, during the 1960s fight for civil rights.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Dawn Caldwell, of North Carolina. “Just reading all of his quotes — it’s just really inspiring,”

Caldwell said she was most impressed by King’s ability to mobilize people of different backgrounds to strive for a common goal.

“I think that’s what’s missing, is that we don’t have someone like that,” she said, while looking at the memorial with her husband and teenage son. “We have a lot of different people, but I don’t think we have anyone that is as powerful, or as eloquent and learned as he.”

“Barack Obama had the eloquence and background, but as far as one person mobilizing — maybe it’s not going to be one person, maybe it’s going to be multiple people who do that,” Caldwell said.

With modern-day contentiousness and political gridlock and grandstanding, I asked if Caldwell and her husband, Medula, of North Carolina, believed that peace is still achievable.

“I really don’t think we’ve ever had it — peace,” said Medula. “It almost seems like a futile effort.”

His wife continued his train of thought.

“It’s hard for man to have peace — I think there will always be struggles,” said Dawn. “It’s sad, because people obviously die from that.”

Despite her uncertainty about the possibility of enduring peace, Dawn Caldwell said she wonders whether King’s vision will ever be attained.

“Will we ever achieve it? We can hope we can get closer,” she said.

Most of the visitors agreed continuing the fight for equality and justice that King sought was the best way to honor his legacy

“He was a young man,” said Jeanne Wickliffe, visiting the memorial with the Dixons. “Had he lived, you can start imagining, with his great mind, what he could have accomplished or led others to accomplish.

Yet Gail Dixon said the divisive climate of 2018 will make achieving King’s goals difficult.

“Not until we start talking to each other again, and listening to each other, and not shouting at each other,” said Dixon. “You have to listen to each other and be willing to hear ideas that you may not be comfortable with, and still be able to talk to people.”

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