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Ceremonies honor MLK's legacy

Posted January 13, 2012
Updated January 18, 2014

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— Almost 44 years after he was killed on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, Tenn., the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. continues to grow.

That legacy was celebrated across the Triangle, state and country Monday with numerous events remembering the slain leader.

Locally, an interfaith breakfast, march, several service projects and a musical celebration highlighted the chances people had to remember King.

The national holiday began with the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Triangle Interfaith Breakfast at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel, at 4700 Emperor Blvd. in Durham. For the past 26 years, Capitol Broadcasting Company has served as the leading sponsor for the breakfast.

MLK signed program up for auction Off on MLK Day? Use it to volunteer

The breakfast featured Enloe High School sophomore Adrian Bullock, who delivered King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and keynote speaker Cynthia Marshall, North Carolina president of AT&T.

"The man who we honor today could have invented the tag line of 'Rethink possible.' We cannot even begin to talk about how many mission impossible moments he endured," she said.

The 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Memorial March began at 10 a.m. on the grounds of the State Capitol and departed through downtown Raleigh with hundreds of marchers. The theme for this year’s march was “From the Dream to Reality…Economic & Social Equality…More Work to be Done.”

"I know I wouldn't have been able to be in the position I am in life if people had not marched, had people not been beaten, had people not died," said marcher Victoria Green-Epps. "We need to love everybody."

Marcher Clayton Harry said he believes King's legacy "is for all of us to be together as one people, unity."

Donna Darnell said his legacy extends beyond race, "also to gays, women's rights, people who are handicapped. He's made a real difference for all of them."

Following the march, the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Noon Ecumenical Observance was held at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, at 2 E. South St. in Raleigh. The Rev. Nelson Johnson, executive director of the Community Development Center in Goldsboro, delivered a message.

The day of celebration concluded at 5:30 p.m. with the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King Evening Musical Celebration, also at the center for the performing arts. Ernest Pugh headlined the performances.

Enloe student Adrian Bullock delivers 'I Have a Dream' speech Enloe student delivers 'I Have a Dream' speech

Throughout the day, more than 2,000 volunteers from throughout the Triangle participated in more than 30 community service projects in cooperation with the Triangle United Way, such as making cards for troops overseas and putting together hygiene kits for the homeless.

"I think it's really important that we all come together and try and establish that we're all on this earth together, and we all need to learn to get along together," said volunteer Emery Curtis.

"We all feel very involved, and we feel very uplifted that we get to help other people in need," said volunteer Austin Miles.

In October, Triangle residents young and old were among thousands of people who gathered on the National Mall for the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The sculpture of King with his arms crossed appears to emerge from a stone extracted from a mountain. Carved by Chinese artist Lei Yixin, the statue design was inspired by a line from the famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

The Raleigh Martin Luther King Committee, a group integral in the planning of Triangle ceremonies honoring King, organized the visit to Washington D.C.


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  • cantstandya Jan 16, 2012

    lineIfDuty, I'm not disagreeing that the Blacks have had some obsticles to overcome but MLK and many whites have advocated for their cause also with no recognition,it seems if I were Black that I would question how the Hispanics arriving here in great numbers ended up with more rights than the Blacks who have as people say suffered for many years,I'm not a racist but still believe each of us has the same chance at prosperity as the next person and self application to advance yourself is a matter of choice and if one decides to do the work they will reap the benefits.

  • philster Jan 16, 2012


  • unc70 Jan 16, 2012

    Blacks were not the only group discriminated against by laws on the book.

    These included Asians, non-Christians, non-Protestants, and the largest group, women.

    Rather than fight among ourselves about who is taking from the other (while a few are really taken from all of us), we a better society of abundance.

    Enough for each, much more for most.

  • bombayrunner Jan 16, 2012

    what is interesting is how the US has this as a holiday, yet only some observe it. And there are ceremonies all over and for years I've never been invited or known the location of any of them.

  • unc70 Jan 16, 2012

    Only a few whites have the real power. Most of the rest of us have little power and little opportunity to change that unless we realize that we are being manipulated by those with wealth and power to turn on each other and not join together to do what is best.

    At the core of our problems is that terms like capitalism, markets, value, and the assumptions about them are wrong, and almost none of the common wisdom of R,D, Libs applies in today's information age.

    Included in all that is nearly everything about banking, taxes, job creation, welfare.

  • bombayrunner Jan 16, 2012

    "Im Irish American and my ancestors did not have no cake walk either but by hard work education and family values they survived and overcame obsticles on their own,no government handout or special attention .... cantstandya"

    This is all very true, the Irish were very much hated when they came to the US ... the difference is, however, Blacks were the ONLY ones ever with laws on the books denying them equal rights ... like right up to 1964 (pretty sure on this date). And that is still pretty recent and sick.

  • boneymaroney13 Jan 16, 2012

    Is society better off?

  • boneymaroney13 Jan 16, 2012

    This day would have been bette srved as a national day off to VOTE!!! That way the working folks could go vote without the loss of pay.

  • trekkie13 Jan 16, 2012

    Gil-Ann Wilder stated: "Dr. King was a Prince of Peace and one of God's prophets. If anyone that has ever lived on this earth deserves a day in remembrance, Dr. King does. I am also happy his statue stands proudly in Washington, DC and his painting hangs proudly in my office. His legacy will live on til the 'end of time' and there will never be another like Dr. King. I look forward to the day I can meet him in Heaven and shake his hand. He changed the course in history and God used him mightily to pave a better way of existence between blacks and whites."

    I disagree. A man that considered himself a man of the cloth would not have the alleged morals that MLK had. This is a perfect example of the hero worship and deification that the liberal media made out of MLK.

  • bombayrunner Jan 16, 2012

    "Dr. King was a Prince of Peace and one of God's prophets. If anyone that has ever lived on this earth deserves a day in remembrance, Dr. King does. ... wilder"

    Problem is, we don't have days for prophets in this country -- its secular