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South Bend neighbors honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. hand in hand

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - 50 years ago today, the world lost one of the pioneers of civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Wednesday night, South Bend neighbors honored his legacy hand-in-hand, with help from one of the original Freedom Riders.

The Freedom Riders were the group that traveled on buses around southern states, promoting the adoption of the new law desegregating public transportation.

“I think that the best way to honor him is to say, okay is to reach out," said Charles Person, who was one of the 13 original Freedom Riders in 1961.

Sister Betty Smoyer and Delsue Minfield did just that, joining hands after just meeting at the vigil held at the MLK memorial on Main Street.

“She helped me snap my coat up," said Sister Betty.

"Her coat was open, and I go do you mind?...and the dream of Dr. King is love," said Minfield.

“In America, for some reason, we cannot talk about race without confrontation, and you can talk about race without confrontation, and I think we get to that point when you get to know someone, you realize hey he’s a pretty nice guy," said Person.

50 years after Dr. King's death, he sits at the feet of the reverend, still pushing for change.

“He was not only the voice of the movement, but also he articulated a lot of things that are prevalent today...He talked about poverty...He preached non-violence of course and working together, harmony," said Person.

“We have a history to share here and to claim and to try to live in ways that are loving and peaceful and bring us together," said Sister Betty.

"America works best when we work together," said Person.

Person left his audience with one question for them to ponder in the spirit of Dr. King: "If you could change the world, would you?"


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