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The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; A Kentucky Community Lives Without Clean Drinking Water
Aired April 4, 2018 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10. This April 4th, 2018, we`re starting with a look back at an event from April 4th, 1968, an
event that changed a nation.
Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee. He was a Baptist minister and an activist. He was a
writer and a gifted speaker.
He delivered his most famous speech during the march on Washington in 1963. He was named "Time Magazine`s" Man of the Year in 1963. He received a
Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
And today, Dr. King is remembered as being one of the most renowned civil rights leaders in history.
One of his main goals was to use what he called non-violent direct action, peaceful protests like marches and sit-ins to promote equal treatment for
African-Americans in the U.S.
Dr. King was no stranger to controversy. He was arrested and jailed in solitary confinement for leading a march in Birmingham in Alabama. He
spoke out publicly against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, which angered many people in the late 1960s. Some of his activism on behalf of
America`s poor failed to get the results that he and his supporters hoped for.
Not long before his assassination, Dr. King said in a sermon, quote: Living every day under the threat of death, I feel discouraged every now and then
and feel my work is in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.
A half century later, it`s clear Dr. King`s work was not in vain.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is unbelievable. You look up there, it says Mason Temple, this is where Martin Luther King 50
years ago gave his incredible Mountaintop speech.
SUBTITLE: April 2, 1968, King gave an emotional speech at the Mason Temple in Memphis.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I just want to do God`s will. And he has allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I`ve looked
over. And I`ve seen the Promised Land.
I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!
BASH (voice-over): That night, April 3rd, 1968, King checked in here, to Lorraine Motel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gets dressed around 5:45 and he steps outside of the balcony of room 306, and he speaks to other guests that are in the
SUBTITLE: April 4, approximately 6:01 p.m., King was shot while standing on this motel balcony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At approximately 6:01, the final shot rings out. Dr. King lies mortally wounded on the balcony. He`s taken from the balcony to
St. Joseph`s Hospital and he`s pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m.
SUBTITLE: On the night of King`s assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed the nation.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Shocked and saddened by the brutal slaying tonight of Dr. Martin Luther King. I ask every citizen to reject
the blind violence that has struck Dr. King, who lived by nonviolence.
SUBTITLE: Fifty years later, a bipartisan group of members of Congress visited the site where MLK Jr. was assassinated.
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: To me, it`s like a return into something rudimentary and fundamental. I mean, this is where Martin Luther
King breathe his last breath.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In honor of, Lorraine Hotel decided not to recheck this room out in Dr. King`s honor and remembrance.
BASH (on camera): This is exactly how it was left?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was left this way.
BASH (voice-over): Right there when it all happened, King`s partner and dear friend, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, his wife Juanita on this pilgrimage
50 years later.
(on camera): The night that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, you were with his widow.
JUANITA ABERNATHY, FRIEND OF KING FAMILY: Yes.
BASH: Tell me about that.
ABERNATHY: I told Coretta, I said, well, I`ll meet you in your house, and I stayed there that night with her --
BASH: So, did you sleep with her in her bed to comfort her?
ABERNATHY: Yes, right?
BASH: The night that her husband was killed?
ABERNATHY: The night that he died, I slept on his side of the bed and my little children were there with her children.
BASH: Tell me how you`re feeling. I was watching you standing here.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Well, you know, it`s very emotional to come here. I was not here that evening.
He changed my life. He inspired me to stand up, to speak up and to never give up.
And when he died, I think something died in all of us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:
Most of the world`s freshwater is used for what?
Agriculture, industry, sewage or bathing?
According to the United Nations, the majority of the world`s freshwater is used for agriculture and irrigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: But even in a relatively wealthy nation like the U.S., which uses a relatively high amount of water, getting clean drinking water at home is
not a guarantee. Then you got (ph) the pipes that bring Americans water were laid underground almost 100 years ago. They`ve deteriorated since
then. Some leak, some don`t have enough water pressure to seal out soil, dirt or chemicals. And some local governments don`t have the money to
replace their pipes.
Improving American infrastructure like its water systems is a priority of the federal government. But critics say the problems will cost more to fix
than the government provides and in places like Martin County, Kentucky, those problems are literally seeping into homes.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The hills of Appalachia are part of America`s legacy. The people here in Martin
County, Kentucky, proudly self-sufficient, but it`s hard to take care of yourself when you don`t have the most basic of necessities.
HOPE WORKMAN, RESIDENT, MARTIN COUNTY, KENTUCKY: So we have blue water here. That is crazy.
GUPTA: It`s left Hope Workman with no other choice. Twice a week, Hope and her daughter drive up this dirt path on the side of a mountain.
WORKMAN: This is what we go through to get water.
GUPTA: Twenty years ago, she placed this 3-1/2-foot-long pipe into this hillside to tap a spring just to collect clean drinking water because,
obviously, no one drinks the water here.
(on camera): Do you drink it?
GARY BALL, EDITOR IN CHIEF, MOUNTAIN CITIZEN: Oh, no. No, no, no, there`s no way that I drink it.
GUPTA (voice-over): Gary Ball is the editor in chief of the local weekly paper, the "Mountain Citizen". Water has been a front page story for most
of his career.
(on camera): What`s going on here? I mean, for the citizens, the people who live here and deal with this every day, where do they put this on their
list of concerns?
BALL: In 2018, in the very place where LBJ declared war on poverty 54 years ago, water is our number one issue. That`s hard to imagine.
GUPTA: You declare a war on poverty, 54 years later, you come back there and you can`t even reliably get clean water? What progress have we really
BALL: It`s like a third world country here as far as water. We let our water system just dilapidate to the point of collapse.
GUPTA: You went how long without water?
WORKMAN: At that time, it was 10 days.
GUPTA (voice-over): To manage that, Hope has turned her pool into a makeshift reservoir, collecting rain water for even the most basic needs.
(on camera): In order to wash your clothes, in order to get water to bathe in, this is what you have to do?
WORKMAN: Yes, I did this in 17-degree weather and we had to take a chainsaw to drill through the ice.
GUPTA: Oh my goodness.
WORKMAN: To get to the water.
GUPTA: So you used the chainsaw to get through the ice.
GUPTA: And then siphoned the water with your mouth out of this hose?
WORKMAN: Yes. Yes.
GUPTA: That`s what it`s come to?
WORKMAN: That`s what it`s come to.
GUPTA (voice-over): In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the United States drinking water infrastructure a grade of a D.
WORKMAN: This is the water that`s coming out of my bath.
GUPTA: So, how does the water get so contaminated here in Martin County?
It`s worth looking at how we get our water. Here, it comes from the Tug Fork River, where it is then pumped into the Crum Reservoir, and from
there, it makes its way to this water treatment center.
(on camera): After getting treated, about 2 million gallons per day of fairly clean water then leaves this treatment facility through a cascade of
pipes traveling all over the county.
Problem is, those pipes are all so old and cracked. More than 50 percent of the water leaks out before it gets to the people who need it. Even
worse, it`s what`s getting into those pipes and into the water.
AZUZ: Very different kind of problem concerning water was faced by a family in Sarasota, Florida, recently. There was an uninvited visitor to
their backyard swimming pool and it measured 11 feet long. They called police to address the alligator and a trapper was brought in to escort the
animal out. It resisted it its arrest a bit, but no one was hurt.
This appears to be an enclosed pool so we`re not sure exactly how it got in. But we bet the family were a reptilian all their friends about it and
their pictures proved their stories no croc. If that sort of thing is coming, they may want to move snout. There`s a big difference between a
gated community and a gator community and those animals are crocodile- anything but too cool for pool.
I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.