Jesse Jackson, one of the historical leaders of the civil rights movements in the US, was very close to Martin Luther King when the Nobel Peace Prize was shot dead at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee fifty years ago. King had gone to the balcony on the first floor, in front of the room 306, and Jackson was waiting for him with the rest of the attendants just below, in the parking lot. He was one of the first to rush to help King, who died almost instantaneously, with a bullet that penetrated his right cheek.

Yesterday, just minutes before the anniversary, Jackson was up on that same balcony, in the main act of the commemorations of his murder. He rapped his knuckles on the door of room 306, imitating the sound he heard at that moment. Jackson compared death with the life of Jesus: “Atlanta was his Bethlehem, the Mason Temple [the church of Memphis where he gave his last speech, the eve of his death] was his Gethsemane and this balcony was his ordeal,” he said. “It was his ordeal and also his resurrection,” he said of the place, which also symbolizes the progress of the black minority in the United States since then: “From a balcony in Memphis to a balcony in the White House.”

The object of his reference, Barack Obama, was not in the acts of the southern city, but was present through a video: “America is more fair and freer than in King’s time. But we have to be aware of all the work that remains to be done. ”

The former president was one of the most applauded. There was no representation from the Trump Administration, but there were many references to Obama’s successor, who is placed at the center of the greater prominence of white supremacism in the United States. in the last times.

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