USC Professor: MLK was scheduled to be in Columbia day before assassination

SC professor discusses MLK connection to Midlands
Published: Apr. 4, 2018 at 10:28 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2018 at 10:35 AM EDT
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(WIS) - 50 Years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

University of South Carolina History professor Bobby Donaldson spoke with WIS about King's legacy on the civil rights movement and a little-known fact about King's ties to the Midlands.

Donaldson says that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was supposed to be in South Carolina the day before he was shot.

"Now ironically, King is killed on April fourth, 1968," Donaldson said.

"Most people don't know that on April 3rd, King was supposed to be in Columbia, South Carolina. He had agreed to come. He had agreed to come here to begin to organize the poor people's campaign. And days before he is to come, he writes to the local church, Zion Baptist Church, and says 'I'm sorry, I'm delayed in Memphis, I'll join you at another time."

Now, 'King Day at the Dome' is celebrated every year on MLK Day at Zion Baptist Church in honor of Dr. King.

In 1968, Dr. King would give his final speech at Mason Temple to supporters of a sanitation strike in the city.

This week, the King family commemorated what's now known as the mountaintop speech on Tuesday night.

Today, a new exhibit will shine a light on his legacy. Speakers and performers are scheduled throughout Wednesday at the Lorraine Hotel where Dr. King was shot. It is now part of the Civil Rights museum.

Later on, Lester Holt will have special live coverage from Memphis to mark the 50th anniversary of King's assassination.

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