ATLANTA — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated 53 years ago today, as he stood on a hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. This year, the date falls on Easter Sunday.
At the time of his death, the civil rights leader was 39 years old.
He was known for his advocacy of non-violent social change and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs.
At the time of his death, King, who was pastor of Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, was in Memphis as part of the "Poor People's Campaign," organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
While there in support of striking black sanitation workers, King was shot as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel by James Earl Ray.
Rev. Raphael Warnock's Easter sermon, taking place virtually, will reflect on King's legacy and the Easter holiday.
After his conviction, Ray spent the remainder of his life in prison.
King was interred on the grounds of the King Center on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, where an eternal flame burns in front of a crypt alongside his beloved wife Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006.
Beneath King's name on the crypt is a quote from perhaps his most famous oration, the 'I Have a Dream" speech from the 1963 March on Washington: "Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty, I'm Free at last."
At 1:30 on Sunday, a wreath laying ceremony will take place at The King Center's reflecting pool.
In a Tweet on Sunday, his son, Martin Luther King III, said his father wanted to create a world of freedom, justice and equality for all.
"I was only 10 years old when my father was killed, but at the time of his funeral, I fully realized the impact and importance of what my father was trying to do. Create a world of freedom, justice & equality for all," the Tweet read.
His daughter, Bernice, said in a Tweet on Sunday that he was "Assassinated for answering a call to conscience, for speaking truth to power, for being a drum major for justice who sought to rid the world of racism, militarism and poverty."
She also called on people to stand against voter suppression on the anniversary of his death.