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Martin Luther King Jr remembered

Two of Martin Luther King Jr's children have marked the 44th anniversary of his death by launching efforts to prevent youth violence.

King Centre chief executive Bernice King and her brother, Martin Luther King III, announced separate youth violence prevention initiatives with the Centres for Disease Control and The Carter Centre.

Dr King, who championed non-violent social change and racial and economic equality, was fatally shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. The motel is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Dr King's death was being observed around the country.

In Atlanta, Bernice King and her aunt, Christine King Farris, laid a wreath at the gravesite of the civil rights leader as part of a remembrance by Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached from 1960 until his death. A wreath was also laid by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which Dr King helped create in 1957.

A 3,700-foot section of a Memphis street was renamed in honour of Dr King. Linden Avenue was on the route for a March 28, 1968, civil rights march led by Dr King.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was with Dr King at the time of the murder, said he hopes bloodshed will cease.

"Stop neighbourhood killing," he said. "Stop the violence. Stop suspending our children from schools. Stop the violence. Love each other. Stop banks from foreclosing our houses. Stop the Violence. Keep hope alive."

Former Memphis City Councilman Berlin Boyd, who sponsored the renaming, said the two-hour ceremony means the city is moving on. "It symbolises the city of Memphis is burying the guilt of Dr King's assassination and we're moving forward with the progression and the resurrection of hope of change, and a new perspective on Memphis' outlook," he said.

In Washington, a candlelight vigil was planned at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, which opened earlier this year. The public ceremony was to include Harry Johnson, president of the foundation that built the memorial, and Arun Manilal Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.

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