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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 45 Years Later

Stacy M. Brown | 4/3/2013, 10:04 a.m.

"I was horrified by her words and then, as I walked to buy some milk, a young black child looked at me because I am white and said, 'You killed Martin Luther King.' I said, no I didn't, I loved him. That was the day that I really understood what it meant to be judged solely by the color of your skin," Nichols said.

Today, despite King's efforts, the American Dream he spoke so eloquently of remains out of reach for too many people, Saunders said.

"Unemployment remains stubbornly high, especially among African-American males and it is unfortunate that women's rights, Affirmative Action and Voting Rights have been attacked at the same time that unions have been targeted by powerful forces in richly funded coordinated efforts to crush workers rights," Saunders said.

King traveled to Memphis to show his support of sanitation workers and to stand with AFSCME to see that union members ultimately would be treated with dignity and respect, the younger King said.

"We want to create a climate in America where a decent job comes with decent pay, and actually a living wage," King said.

"Here we are 45 years later, and the president has challenged us to raise the minimum wage to a higher level. Dad, 45 years ago, was talking about a living wage and he was way ahead of the curve as we are still trying to get the minimum wage raised," he said. "It's kind of interesting as it relates to where we are in this nation when it comes to true progress."

Rueben Brock, a Southeast resident who attends West Virginia University, said plenty of work is still needed for King's dream to be realized. "What's interesting about Dr. King's legacy is that a lot of people right now have the assumption that because we have a black president, the dream has been realized," said Brock, 24.

"If you look a little deeper you realize that's not necessarily the case. There's still a lot of work that's left to be done," he said.