Martin Luther King Jr. statue announced during birthday ceremony

Updated: Jan. 15, 2018 at 4:53 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - From the grave, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message of non-violence still moves and resonates, 50 years after his death in Memphis, Tennessee. At King's former church on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, there was singing and celebration, as well as remembrance.

"One of the defining figures in the 20th century, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," Gov. Kay Ivey said to applause in a packed out Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church.

"I don't think he would be pleased about a lot of things going on in America today," said Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange used the occasion to say a statue of King will be going up in front of the church on the anniversary of his "I have a dream" speech on Aug. 28. The statue will cost $125,000. The city, county and state are chipping in to pay for it.

"With his hands the sculptor, we will be unveiling in this place a statue of Martin Luther King," said Strange.

Ivey talked about a $12,000 gr ant that purchased the very audio system used to play King's sermons during tours. Visitors can hear King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech right now as they tour the old church.

Walter Miliner said there was no way he would miss the ceremony honoring the famous preacher and civil rights leader.

"And very worthwhile to let people know what we had to go through," said Miliner.

Fifty years ago, King fell to an assassin's bullet. He would have turned 89 years old this year.

The U.S. Civil Rights Trail was launched Monday and Ivey announced Alabama's portion of it. The trail now includes nearly 130 museums, churches and courthouses considered landmarks. Almost 30 of these sites are in Alabama.

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