The 54th commemoration of the death in Memphis of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the draw that will have the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, in Memphis on Monday (April 4).
Jackson will hold a press conference and community rally at Mt. Olive CME Church, 538 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive., at noon. He was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel when an assassin’s bullet fatally struck Dr. King on the evening of April 4, 1968.
Bishop Henry M. Williamson Sr., presiding prelate for the First Episcopal District of the CME Church, said Jackson’s visit is to pay respect and tribute to King, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in support of the Memphis sanitation workers.
Jackson is expected to address voter registration, including why it is vital that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is confirmed as the first African-American woman to sit on the U. S. Supreme Court.
“We must realize that Dr. King passed the baton for justice, freedom and equality to Rev. Jackson,” Bishop Williamson said. “The struggle is not free.”
At 2 p.m. Monday, Jackson will accompany Williamson, clergy and community leaders on a tour of the historic Collins Chapel Connectional Hospital at 409 Ayers.
The Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) church opened the hospital in 1910 during the height of segregation. For decades, the hospital was the only place where Blacks could be born and treated medically during the height of segregation.
Seven decades after the hospital was established, integration had changed the healthcare industry landscape and Collins Chapel Connectional Hospital shut its doors in 1980.
Jackson was a fierce advocate for the hospital to reopen, lending his influence to an extensive fundraising effort spearheaded by the CME Church.
Collins was successfully reopened and — since May of 2021 — has been occupied by Room in the Inn, a transitional housing facility for families struggling with homelessness and for recently discharged hospital patients who need a place to heal and recuperate.
At 4 p.m. Jackson is scheduled to make an appearance at the National Civil Rights Museum, which incorporates the old Lorraine Motel.