INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Kennedy King Memorial Initiative will host a ceremony Tuesday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Sen. Robert Kennedy. Tuesday marks 49 years since King was killed and Kennedy announced the death and gave a speech in Indianapolis.
On the night King was shot, Kennedy delivered a speech urging people to stay calm and to follow in the civil rights leader’s footsteps. The speech, only a few minutes long, is often praised for keeping Indianapolis peaceful on a night when violence erupted in other American cities.
Every year, the Initiative hosts a ceremony and honors people who are following in King’s footsteps.
“Forty-nine years ago, Robert F. Kennedy enlightened and inspired a crowd gathered in Indianapolis on one of the darkest days in American history: the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated,” said State rep. Gregory W. Porter, president of the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative. “Today, the empathy for the shared reach for equality, and that determination to overcome anger to achieve peace, must continue.”
This year, the Initiative will give third-grader Reese Hamilton a special award. Hamilton started a peace march to fight violence in his neighborhood, and organized a drive to give Thanksgiving dinners and blankets to people in need.
Mayor Joe Hogsett will speak and Reverend David Green, president of the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, will give the keynote address. Faith representatives of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic communities will also speak. The program will include prayer, song and a presentation of a video recording of Kennedy’s speech and King’s “Mountain Top” address.
The ceremony starts at 5 p.m at the Martin Luther King Jr. park at 17th and Broadway streets.
Organizers will release plans at the event for next year’s 50th anniversary ceremony.