King urged blacks to polls in historic speech 50 years ago

AP News
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Posted: May 06, 2016 1:08 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The 50th anniversary of a historic speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr urging blacks to vote is being marked in rural South Carolina this weekend.

King gave what became known as the "March on the Ballot Boxes" speech in Kingstree in black-majority Williamsburg County on Mother's Day, 1966. It came about nine months after the federal Voting Rights Act became law and King urged blacks not to be afraid of voting.

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C. was present at King's speech and will speak at Sunday's commemoration.

National Park Service historian Michael Allen was 5 at the time he attended King's speech. Allen says he hopes it will now be remembered much as the 1965 march on Selma, Alabama, by civil rights activists is remembered.