Local News

Thousands Honor MLK's Legacy in Different Ways

Posted January 15, 2007 4:39 p.m. EST

— Thousands of people took time Monday to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The day of observances in the Triangle began with a Prayer Breakfast in Research Triangle Park. The Triangle Martin Luther King Interfaith Prayer Breakfast committee sponsored the 26th annual event. Speakers included Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, Duke President Richard Brodhead and Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The streets of downtown Raleigh echoed the shouts of freedom as thousands marched from the capitol to Memorial Auditorium.

Dion Currie said he wants his 7-year-old son to remember the day and learn from it.

"I want him to know Dr. King was strong, what he did for society," he said. "It lays a foundation for how he will live his life. I want him to know what it was like, about the struggle."

"It's a big day for me. A big day for this group of people," said marcher Bonnie McNeil. (It's) not just African-Americans, but for all of God's people."

The Raleigh march ended with a special service at Memorial Auditorium. One of the highlights involved a fifth-grader from Fuller Elementary School giving King's "I Have A Dream" speech.

Organizers estimate 2,500 people took part in Monday's march, which was up from last year.

Another spirited march took place Monday in Rocky Mount. The Rocky Mount Senior High Marching Band marched from MLK Junior Park to the old Booker T. Washington High School. State officials placed a marker at the building to commemorate a speech King gave in 1962.

Others used the holiday to give community projects a boost. In Raleigh, hundreds of volunteers came to help the disabled and the hungry.

The projects included packing bags of fresh produce for needy seniors and creating meals for school kids who do not get enough food at home. It was the second year the Triangle United Way coordinated a massive volunteer effort in honor of Martin Luther King Day.