Candidates Remember King, Clinton Chokes Up

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 4, 2008 1:22pm

ABC News’ Eloise Harper and Sunlen Miller Report: Senator Hillary Clinton’s voice quivered as she recounted her recollection of the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.  On the 40th anniversary of King’s death, Clinton spoke at  Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis TN.  She addressed the crowd in the annex of the church located behind a larger church where King spoke before dying the following day.

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

“Like many of you here who are of a certain age. I will never forget where I was when Dr. King was killed. I was a junior in college and I remember hearing about it and was feeling such. I walked into my dorm room and took my book bag and I hurled it across the room. It felt like everything had been shattered. Like we would never be able to put the pieces together again you know I joined the protest march in Boston It worked to convince my college to recruit more students of color wore a but  it felt like it wasn’t enough,” said Clinton.

Clinton spoke about King’s drive and perseverance even when the media and everyone else counted him out  and how he never gave up.

“He never gave up and neither should you.  His faith in America animated and sustained his journey. Like with any faith there were dark moments when one doubts. When one is on the brink of giving up and throwing in the towel. He would always come back from those dark places, and so must we. The tenacity of Dr Kings faith is all the more extraordinary when you think of the ways it was tested. All the critics in the media attacking his work, by the death threats the bombings the beatings the stabbings the murder. The grinding heard work day after day of just getting up and moving on.”

Senator Barack Obama also honored King on today’s anniversary, in a speech before a Fort Wayne, Indiana crowd.  At the top of his prepared remarks solely devoted to the anniversary, the Illinois senator said he had spoken to the King family this morning and then prompted the crowd to observe a moment of silence.

Obama called King an extraordinary American whose assassination, “left a wound on the soul of our nation that has yet to fully heal.”

Obama said the dream that King began has not been completed, and it is all Americans task to now help finish.

He referenced his own speech on race in this context, “this is something I spoke about a few weeks ago in a speech I gave in Philadelphia. And what I said was that instead of having a politics that up to Dr. King’s call for unity, we’ve had a politics that’s used race to drive us apart, when all this does is feed the forces of division and distraction, and stops us from solving our problems. That is why the great need of this hour is much the same as it was when Dr. King delivered his sermon in Memphis.”

Obama said earlier that he chose to commemorate the day with campaign events in Indiana and North Dakota because he wanted to spread the message of Dr. King’s legacy to unfinished places. Indiana also has a place in today’s history, it was the place where Robert Kennedy was campaigning when news broke of King’s assassination. Obama was introduced at his town hall today by Mike Riley who served as Indiana chairman for Kennedy’s campaign and was with Kennedy when he spoke in Indianapolis after receiving notice of King’s death.

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