The King and the Casket

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Ralph Abernathy delivering a sermon which called the event "one of the darkest hours of mankind.


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At his widow's request, King eulogized himself: His last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, a recording of his famous 'Drum Major' sermon, given on February 4, , was played at the funeral. In that sermon he makes a request that at his funeral no mention of his awards and honors be made, but that it be said that he tried to "feed the hungry," "clothe the naked," "be right on the [Vietnam] war question," and "love and serve humanity.

Per King's request, his good friend Mahalia Jackson sang his favorite hymn, " Take My Hand, Precious Lord ", though not as part of the morning funeral service but later that day at a second open-air service at Morehouse College.

The private funeral was followed by the loading of King's casket onto a simple wooden farm wagon pulled by two mules. The procession down the three-and-a-half miles from Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College was observed by over , people; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference commissioned a security detail to manage the crowd, while the Atlanta Police Department limited their participation to management of automobile traffic and to accompany dignitaries attending the events. The procession was silent, although it was accompanied on occasion by the singing of freedom songs which were frequently sung during the marches in which King had participated.

Among the persons leading the procession, besides the immediate family of the civil rights leader, were Jesse Jackson , who held the flag of the United Nations , now Congressman John Lewis , and Andrew Young who was at one time the Mayor of Atlanta and also Ambassador to the United Nations. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the group sang " We Shall Overcome ".

Newsweek tweets photo of Martin Luther King in his casket

The public and final service was held at Morehouse College, where King was eulogized by college president Benjamin Mays , who had given the benediction after King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Following the funeral, King's casket was loaded into a hearse for his final trip to the South View Cemetery , a burial place predominantly reserved for African Americans. His remains were exhumed in and reburied at their current location at the plaza between the King Center and Ebenezer, and his widow Coretta was buried next to him in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.

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