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Nation Marks 44th Anniversary of MLK Assassination

Dorothy Rowley | , WI Staff Writer | 4/4/2012, 2:16 p.m.

It's been 44 years since "drum major for peace," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.

The murder of Dr. King, who was shot as he stood on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel, sent shock waves through America -- and is somewhat reflective of the death of unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin, who was shot in late February as he walked along a gated community in Sanford, Fla.

The night before his death on April 4, 1968, Dr. King made a seemingly prophetic speech in which he stated:

"We got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountain top ... Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place ... 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 promise land. I may not get there with you. But, I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promise land."

James Earl Ray, a white segregationist was charged (and later died in prison) with MLK's murder, but George Zimmerman who has admitted gunning down Trayvon, has yet to be charged.

Meanwhile, a day-long vigil was held Wednesday at the MLK Memorial on National Mall in honor of the slain civil rights leader.