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Thousands Take To Atlanta's Streets As The March For Humanity Marks The 50th Anniversary Of MLK's Funeral

The day began with a church service and ended with a march.

Several streets in Atlanta were closed off for the March for Humanity, which marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's funeral procession, WSB-TV reports. 

The crowd first attended a church service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church before hitting the streets to march; the demonstration was led by the King's children and grandchild and other civil rights leaders. 

"If you think it was bad now, you should have been there back then," noted politician, activist and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young about the racial climate of the past versus now. Young served as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement and was a close confidant of Dr. King.

Young, who also once served as Atlanta's mayor, told the crowd that MLK “continues to reign among us, calling on us to do better and be the best that we can be.”

According to the Washington Post, Bill Watkins, a Los Angeles man, rode the bus for 55 hours so that he could attend the commemoration. Watkins noted the march was “all about telling the truth and honoring a man who stood in love.”

Leaders such as Rev. Al Sharpton and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms attended the event.

Many encouraged marchers to continue King's work.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sharpton said, “Dr. King was a dreamer, but he wasn’t asleep. Some of y’all are sleep-dreamin’, and sleep-walkin’. He was dreamin’ while he worked. He was dreamin’ while he marched. He was dreamin’ while he fed the hungry. He was dreamin' while he provided people the right to vote. Don’t go to sleep to dream. Get up and get some work done to dream!” 

Another of King's contemporaries, C.T. Vivian, added that the time has come for the next generation to take up the fight for justice.

“There is no one day or one hour,” Vivian said. “This is a remaking and a rise of our movement. The people are here. The concern is here. The spirit is here. All over the nation. We will return to the same kind of continuous movement that Martin had.”

The demonstration covered ground from the church to the Capitol, where the activists, carrying signs of movements past and present, were met by Georgia governor Nathan Deal.

“May the spirit of Martin Luther King continue to reign here in our capital city and in our great state of Georgia,” Deal said. “May it also reign throughout our great nation. His call for equality, his call for mercy, his call for love to overcome hate still resonates today.”

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director made of sugar and spice and everything rice. She has the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.