The retreat MLK visited for prayer & discussion

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ST. HELENA ISLAND, S.C. — In the hour between sunset and nightfall, the view from this slate-blue cabin consists of a steadily darkening palette. The salt marsh silvers into stone gray, the grassy hummocks ash away into soft black. A blue heron, perhaps feeling conspicuously colorful, flies away.

The scene was intended to soothe the sore eyes of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But as evidence of just how much he needed the kind of solace it offered, Dr. King died before the cabin was finished. He was assassinated 40 years ago on Friday.

The cabin is part of the Penn Center, founded in 1862 as one of the country’s first schools for freed slaves and used more than 100 years later by Dr. King as a retreat center for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

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