Anthony Mackie explained the experience of standing in the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. He told Jimmy Fallon about it on The Tonight Show and his account of that moment is powerful. The Marvel star’s emotion is moving and palpable as he explains being on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. In the same complex, the National Civil Rights Museum now sits with a wreath commemorating the terrible moment in American History.
Many have called for a King like figure in recent weeks as protests against police brutality and George Floyd have sprung up around the world. In response to those calls, a lot of people reminded the country that when America had Martin Luther King Jr. the first time, he was murdered. Mackie says the experience changed his life.
“I had a movie come out this year called The Banker. We were able to do the premiere in the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee,” he began. “Dude, it changed my life. It was crazy because I had never experienced anything of that magnitude. My grandparents, my parents, my aunts, my uncles and what they went through. Coming back from war and being black in America in the 1950s and 1960s.”
Mackie added, “I was able to stand out on the balcony where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It blew my mind to think that this man worked so hard, gave his life, and here we are 55 years later dealing with the exact same thing. That’s what hurts, because I know my grandfather was a sharecropper. My dad was a contractor and he had to drop out of school in the 8th grade to work with his grandfather so he could give me the opportunity to go to Juliard and be a stupid actor.”
The Falcon actor has talked about how weighty the role of Captain America is on a Black man in this country and offered some perspective in those comments.
“You know what, to be honest, it’s very emotional,” Mackie recalled with Deadline. “I’ve been in the business for 20 years and I’ve been fortunate to do some amazing stuff and work with amazing people. For me, to be a Black man in 2019 and be given the helm of Captain America with the history of Black men in this country is a monumental step, not only in entertainment, but also in my life. It’s been extremely emotional. Look, my grandfather was a sharecropper, you know what I mean? There’s a lot of history and pain and triumph and joy that comes along with me being Captain America.”
Were you moved by Mackie’s account of being in that spot? Let us know in the comments!