Witness To MLK's Assassination, Rev. Kyles Inspires In Topeka

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Living the Dream Incorporated, the organization dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, celebrated his legacy all this week with the theme " Memphis."

One man from Memphis, who was with Dr. King during his last hours, shared his story at this year's scholarship and award banquet.

"I have the great honor of spending the last hour of his life on earth," Kyles said. "We were going to my home for dinner," he said.
Those last hours were spent at the Lorraine Motel with, Kyles said, three preachers, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, Kyles and King, just hanging out, "talking preacher talk," he said.

At a quarter to six that April 4, 1968, they stopped on the balcony.

"Martin standing here, I was standing here," he recalled.

"He was leaning over the railing, Martin was, talking to Jesse [Jackson," Kyles recalled. Then..."Oh my lord, the shot rang out. Kapaoow!" He said chillingly. "I turned and he had been knocked from the railing."

King was shot in the head and later died from his wound.

"We lost him. We lost him. We lost him," he said, almost in a whisper. But, he said, "We didn't lose his legacy."

Kyles still continues blazing the trail today.

It would dishonor King and his sacrifice, if I had left the movement, he said.

He speaks to young people about living the dream, as he did Friday to a group of young men and women at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Facility. He told them education is key.

At the Living the Dream banquet, educators were celebrated.

Principal Valerie Patterson and Quincy Elementary School staff and educators were honored for their work.

"It takes education to be able to sustain our community," she said. "So we need to start as young as we can, even in preschool, to make sure that kids are understanding how to learn, so that as they go through life, they can be positive role models. "

"Once you're educated, you are educated for life, Kyles said.