'He was a very smart man, very courageous man'; memories from a - KMOV.com

'He was a very smart man, very courageous man'; memories from a local pastor of MLK

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Reverend Earl Nance Jr. (Credit: KMOV) Reverend Earl Nance Jr. (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- On the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, memories of his legacy have been shared across the country. News 4 spoke with a local pastor who met Dr. King as a young boy and he shared with us those memories.    

Reverend Earl E. Nance Jr. was just nine years old when he met Dr. King at Nance's father's church in St. Louis.

"I shook his hand and said, ‘Hello Dr. King.’ He said to me, ‘Young man, do you know why we are here tonight?’ I said, ‘I think so.’ [He said,] ‘We are here to make a better future for you and for children like you.’”

There are pictures of Nance's father, Reverend Earl E. Nance Sr., With Dr. King. The two were college classmates and good friends.

So naturally, reverend nance senior closely supported him in the civil rights movement.

"He was a very smart man, very courageous man who was drafted into the movement and became the symbol for it," Nance Jr. said.

Nance Jr. remembers the phone call his father received regarding Dr. King's assassination.

"It was pretty sad around my house, thoughts of hopelessness as far as the country and as far as people concerned,” he said. “What do we do now that our leader is gone, where do we go from here?"

Now the pastor of Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis, he's carrying on the mission of his father and of Dr. King.

"I feel on a whole, young people understand that the non-violent approach, the negotiating approach is the best way to go about it. But of course there will always be those who try to undercut that."

Tuesday, Reverend Nance Jr. will be taking part in a program at the Missouri History Museum honoring Dr. King.

It starts at 5:30 p.m. by the fountain in front of the museum at Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue.

The museum says it will broadcast the ceremony live on its Facebook page.

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