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Martin Luther King Jr. honored on 50-year anniversary of his death

Frances+Mann+marched+and+then+sang+several+hymnal+songs+on+Martin+Luther+King%27s+honor.+Photo+credit%3A+Josh+Cozine
Frances Mann marched and then sang several hymnal songs on Martin Luther King's honor. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

Frances Mann marched and then sang several hymnal songs on Martin Luther King's honor. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

Frances Mann marched and then sang several hymnal songs on Martin Luther King's honor. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

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Chico residents gathered and marched to Community Park Wednesday, to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The event took place on the same day of Dr. King’s assassination in 1968 on April 4. Participants began marching from 5 p.m until about 6:30 pm.

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Chico residents marched down East 16th to Community Park

The crowd sang gospel hymns like “This Little Light of Mine” as they marched from the Dorothy F. Johnson center, ending next to the statue of Dr. King in the park where a small stage and seating area was set up. Parts of Dr King’s speeches were played, followed by speakers and songs which remembered the still ongoing struggles King fought for, as well as the compassion with which he did it.

March

Chico residents march through Community Park. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

Crowds

People gathered heard clips from King's speeches as well as community speakers and singers. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

Lesa A. Johnson, Chico State professor of sociology, addressed the crowd, speaking on recent killings of black men by police. She mentioned Stephon Clark, shot last week by Sacramento Police while weaponless in his grandparents’ backyard, and Desmond Phillips in Chico over a year ago, after an initial call for medical help.

Johnson ended with an old chant recently modified in the wake of so many recent police shootings, “No justice, no peace; no racist police.”

Phillips

David Phillips marched with a sign about gun violence. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

The father of Desmond Phillips, David Phillips was also marching.

“I’m marching in support with the Martin Luther King group,” said Phillips. “He died 50 years ago from gun violence. Gun violence claimed my kid, Martin Luther King, and many many others.”

Along with remembering what he fought, and ultimately died for, King was also remembered for his ability to love, some said.

Crowds

People gathered heard clips from King's speeches as well as community speakers and singers. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

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Frances Mann marched and then sang several hymnal songs on Martin Luther King's honor.

“Tell the person next to you that you love them,” said Emily Alma, who helped host the event, after playing a recording of some of King’s words.

Frances Mann sang several songs in the hour-long event, at the end, intending to further bring people together.

“Reach out and touch somebody’s hand,” she said between verses of “We Shall Overcome,” causing those gathered to clasp hands, swaying as they finished the hymn and then dispersed.

Singing

Holding their neighbors' hand, those gathered sang the final verse of "We Shall Overcome" Photo credit: Josh Cozine

Josh Cozine can be reached at [email protected] or @joshcozine on Twitter.

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Martin Luther King Jr. honored on 50-year anniversary of his death