Though people of every race now support the work of the SCLC, it wasn't always that way. There were only a handful of whites who joined forces with civil rights leaders four decades ago. One family, transplants to the Mid-South, not only joined the cause, but devoted their lives to it. Now their daughter is doing the same. More >>
It's a memory close to Bernice King's heart...the kissing game. After long trips away from home, Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. would call out his children's names. Each child had a designated spot to kissMore >>
Today, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which Dr. King founded, continues to fight against racism, poverty, and violence.
The Reverend Dwight Montgomery is president of the Memphis chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a position he has held with pride and persistence since 2004.
"Beyond all the speaking, and singing, and talking, we are going to be taking action," Montgomery said in a recent interview. "We have been taking action, and we will continue to take action in order to really try to fulfill the dream."
The dream includes resources and recreation for kids who, without it, may seek refuge on the streets with gangs.
Programs like the SCLC's Summer Series offer a safe-haven for kids in communities Montgomery says need a morale make-over.
"There is much to do in terms of African-Americans bettering themselves and bettering their neighborhoods," he said.
The SCLC has a plan to make that happen. The group's action agenda includes initiatives for economic development, poverty, public health, and at the top of the list, education.
"The majority of children in Memphis City Schools are African-Americans, and with all the African-American churches, there are not enough of the pastors and members stepping up to the plate to help these schools," Montgomery said.
It's a challenge that echoes back to the King era, when clergy were called upon in the fight for basic civil rights. To achieve their goals, Dr. King preached civility and non-violence, something Montgomery believes many have forgotten.
Montgomery pointed to the high crime rate within some African-American communities.
"That would be of concern to Dr. King," he said. "That is not something we can blame directly on racism. Now people will say it has something to do with racism, but you can't blame it directly on racism."
The SCLC's community unity program involves people of all races working together to wipe out the triple evils defined by Dr. King. Though there's much to be done, Montgomery believes the dream can be achieved.
"We can better the school system, which is predominately African-American," he said. "We can stop the crime in the African-American community, and we must do it if we're going to talk about really fulfilling the dream of Dr. King."