April 4, 2018 10:36 pm
Updated: April 4, 2018 11:18 pm

Montrealers honour the life of Martin Luther King Jr., 50 years after his assassination

WATCH: Martin Luther King Junior's legacy to the civil rights movement was honoured by thousands today. In Montreal a special commemoration was held at Union United Church to mark the 50th anniversary of his death. Elysia Byran-Baynes was there.

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At 6:01 p.m. on Wednesday evening, Montreal’s Union United Church stood silent.

Community workers, artists, leaders in Montreal’s black community and activists all came to pay homage to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of the American civil rights activist’s assassination.

The event was organized by the Centre for Research-Action in Race Relations, the Black History Month roundtable and Union United Church.

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The venue was carefully chosen. Union United Church has been an institution for Montreal’s black community for more than a hundred years.

Opened in 1907, on Delisle Street near Atwater, it has seen prominent figures such as Archbishop Desmund Tutu, actor Sidney Portier and Nelson Mandela visit the congregation.

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For organizers, it was the perfect place to remember the values of peace, justice, unity, love and freedom that King espoused.

“He led with peace and non-violence, there are issues that our community faces now and we have to deal with them in that spirit of peace,” said Michael Farkas, president of the Black History Month roundtable.

Parts of King’s speeches were read by Quincy Armorer, the artistic director for Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop.

“It is an honour. Nerve-wracking, but an immense honour,” Armorer told Global News, ahead of reading King’s “I’ve been to the mountaintop.”

“It can not be overstated how much this means for the community. To be here together. We need this, there’s a lot going on in society and there’s a lot of pressure. We needed to be in this place to find that family and support.”

WATCH: Extended: Montreal church commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. on 50th anniversary of death

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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