Political analyst John Meredith recalls meeting Rev. King as a child

HUNTSVILLE Ala. --  Wednesday marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. His work in the civil rights movement left a lasting impression on the country.

Political analyst John Meredith remembers meeting King in school and it began with a call to the principal's office. "I walked in just scared to death thinking something really bad had happened," said Meredith. "And there were the Kings.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King had come to visit him at his school in Mississippi. "What I remember of him frankly is, he had on very shiny shoes," Meredith recalled.

He said he has more vivid memories of Coretta, he said she was bubbly, endearing and made a lasting impression.

"It was a total surprise to me, and then when I got home, the first thing my father said was, 'How was your day at school? Did somebody come see you today?'" Meredith's father, James Meredith, knew King from the civil rights movement.

His father was the first African-American to attend the University of Mississippi. "As he likes to point out, first to go there, and first to graduate," Meredith said.

His father also launched the March Against Fear in 1966. He intended it to be a solo walk from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi to encourage African-Americans to register to vote. On the second day, Meredith was shot and wounded. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders finished the march in his name.

Meredith said his father and King differed on the best ways to create change, but they both believed in King's message of judging a man based on the content of his character.

"The beauty of the King legacy is that it does live," Meredith said. "It will inspire for generations to come."