MLK Festivities Include March In Raleigh, Breakfast In RTP
Posted January 20, 2003 6:22 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — There was a long list of local holiday events scheduled Monday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., including a march attended by hundreds in Raleigh and a speech in Research Triangle Park by Sen. John Edwards.
Festivities got underway at 8 a.m. in RTP, when seasoned political and religious leaders gathered for the MLK Interfaith Prayer Breakfast. Sen. Edwards called on Southerners to continue to lead the civil rights movement when he spoke on the national holiday commemorating the memory of King.
"Even in the darkest days, countless Southerners stood as profiles in courage in the face of withering opposition," Edwards said. "For every George Wallace, we had a Terry Sanford."
Southerners have a special responsibility to lead the nation on the civil rights issue, Edwards said, "not only because we know America's tragic and terrible history when it comes to race, but because we have led the way in breaking free from that history."
A 10th-grader from Leesville Road High School presided over the breakfast. Carly Jones said the group putting on the event wanted a young person in a leadership role for a change.
Jones has been on the board of directors of the Martin Luther King Resource Center for about two years.
She said she was honored to do her part, but was a little nervous, too.
"Well, I was very nervous at first, because I knew there were a lot of important people here in the audience," Jones said, referring to such dignitaries as Sen. Edwards. "I was introducing a lot of important people, and I was really nervous about messing up someone's name."
About two hours after the breakfast, there was a march Monday morning in Raleigh that began near the State Capitol on Edenton Street. A huge crowd of people carrying pictures of Dr. King marched and sang as they made their way to the BTI Center for a ceremony and concert to honor King.
The banner at the head of parade read: "Knowledge is power. Sharing it is empowerment."
Many parents brought along their kids, who had the day off from school. Many teachers also took part in the march, saying they wanted to share the experience with their students.
Marchers weren't just celebrating King's legacy on civil rights. At a time when the country is preparing for potential war with Iraq, the marchers also honored King's commitment to peace.