At age 93, the Rev. Gardner Taylor never thought he’d live to see the day when his friend Martin Luther King Jr. would be honored with a national memorial.

“I think it is singularly appropriate and long overdue,” said Taylor, who helped found the Progressive National Baptist Convention 50 years ago to support the civil rights work of the friend he called “Mike.”

“Mike King was minister and leader not only of black people,” he said, “but he was leading the nation to what it ought to be.”

Ahead of the memorial’s Aug. 28 official dedication, the men and women who worked and marched alongside King said it’s important to remember that before he was in the vanguard of the civil rights movement, he was a preacher of the gospel.

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