The Latest: Choir singer reprises hymn from King's funeral

April 09, 2018 - 11:58 am

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on a church service and march in Atlanta marking the 50th anniversary of the funeral of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (all times local):

11:45 a.m.

A woman who sang at the funeral of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 has reprised the mournful hymn five decades later.

Mary Gurley took the podium at Ebenezer Baptist Church for a solo performance of "My Heavenly Father" during a service Monday marking the 50th anniversary of King's funeral services in Atlanta.

Gurley said before she began singing: "This is for you, M.L. This was our theme song."

Gurley was a young choir member at Ebenezer when she sang the same hymn during King's funeral on April 9, 1968. The civil rights leader had been assassinated five days earlier in Memphis, Tennessee.

Following the church service Monday, hundreds were expected to participate in a march to the Georgia state Capitol.

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11:20 a.m.

One of Martin Luther King Jr.'s top lieutenants says the slain civil rights leader remains "very much alive" in spirit.

Andrew Young spoke Monday morning during a church service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King's funeral was held 50 years ago after the civil rights leader was slain in Memphis, Tennessee. Young went on to become Atlanta's mayor and a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Young told the crowd that King, "in spite of all the problems we have, continues to rein among us calling on us to do better and be the best that we can be."

The service will be followed by a March for Humanity to the Georgia state Capitol in downtown Atlanta. Hundreds were expected to participate.

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11 a.m.

Former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young and comedian Chris Tucker are among a crowd filling pews at an Atlanta church to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral.

The service Monday is being held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King used to preach. The service will be followed by a March for Humanity to the Georgia state Capitol in downtown Atlanta. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change said it expects hundreds to participate.

The events follow a host of tributes across the U.S. last week to remember the 50th anniversary of King's assassination. The civil rights leader was fatally shot in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

Two funeral services for King were held in Atlanta five days later on April 9, 1968.

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9:15 a.m.

A march from the Atlanta church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached is planned to mark the 50th anniversary of King's funeral.

Organizers say they expect hundreds of people to participate in the March for Humanity.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change says the march will begin at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and continue to Liberty Plaza on the State Capitol grounds. It will end with a tribute to King's legacy.

Funeral services for King were held in Atlanta on April 9, 1968, after the civil rights leader was killed in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

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