"Crowds grew silent Wednesday as bells rang out 39 times in Atlanta and Memphis for the age the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was at the time of his assassination.
Cities across the United States honored King with ceremonies and performances, as well as reflections on what today's civil rights advocates can do to carry forward his legacy 50 years after his death.
Speakers challenged listeners to push for justice and equality, as they expect King would have today. And King's son, Martin III, said that movements, including Black Lives Matter and the movement against gun violence led by students who survived a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, give him hope.
'If even then, the future -- not the past -- was what made us a movement, I believe we carry on the King tradition best by focusing on the here and now as King did as he led the civil rights movement,' Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington's nonvoting delegate to Congress, said just after noon at a wreath-laying ceremony at his memorial near the National Mall.
King's youngest child, Bernice, said he would be excited about some of today's movements, including Black Lives Matter, efforts to quell gun violence and #MeToo campaigns against abuse of women, she told CNN. 'I'm sure that he would be making connections with these movements to make sure that they had what they needed in terms of understanding organizational strategy and planning so that they could bring about effective change.'"