Louisville man who marched with MLK remembers his legacy

Remembering MLK: Louisville man who marched for civil rights shares memories

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - April 4, 2019 marked 51 years since Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.

Longtime local activist and leader of King Solomon Baptist Church Reverend Charles Elliott stood beside MLK in Memphis the day before he was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel.

"We were marching in Memphis for the garbage tippers and nurses to get equal pay,” Elliott said.

Elliott was also by Dr. King’s side during demonstrations through Louisville. More specifically, the March on Frankfort in 1964.

“He came here to march with us for open houses in Louisville,” Elliott said.

Elliott said in the 60s African-Americans couldn’t buy homes in white neighborhoods. On one occasion a house was bombed because they tried. In March 1964 Elliott and others invited Dr. King to help them march from the south end of Louisville to Frankfort to make a change.

“Police would beat on us and spit on us," Elliott recalled. “We pay taxes just like the whites.”

When thinking about Dr. King’s contributions to the march, Elliott detailed an interaction that spoke to his mission.

“There was a little white boy that took a rock and threw it and it hit Dr. King on the jaw," Elliott remembered. "Dr. King reached down and got that rock and told the white group ‘I’m going to build unity and love.’”

The unity and love Dr. King preached in Louisville is still building. Places like the Roots 101 African-American Museum work to keep Dr. King’s spirit alive every day.

“Every black American that came to America dreamed,” spokesperson Lamont Collins said. “His dream was out loud."

The March on Frankfort started the groundwork for the passage of the 1966 Kentucky Civil Rights Act. Dr. King called it “the strongest and most comprehensive civil rights bill passed by a Southern state.”

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.