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Ceremonies keep King’s dream alive


first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ATLANTA (AP) — The mayor of Atlanta called Monday for “bold, audacious” action to make sure society really heeds the message of the Rev. Martin Luther King, and urged listeners gathered to mark his holiday not to forget the victims of Hurricane Katrina. “It is our time to step up to the plate as we have done in the past to lead this country and world by example,” Mayor Shirley Franklin said at the King Day service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached from 1960 until his death in 1968. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the federal holiday, first held on Jan. 20, 1986. Sunday would have been King’s 77th birthday. Franklin asked listeners to “comprehend the full message of Dr. King” – by helping the young, the old and the poor and demanding more federal funding for Hurricane Katrina victims. “Employ a homeless man or woman,” she said. “Sponsor a homeless family. Give a convicted felon who has served his time another chance.” “This, Atlanta, is a time for rigorous and vigorous positive action … bold, audacious, courageous, persistent” action, she said. Absent from the service was King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, who suffered a stroke and heart attack last August. She had received a standing ovation Saturday night when she when she appeared on stage with her children at an awards dinner, but she did not speak. Americans marked the holiday across the country with services and volunteer projects to aid communities. In Columbia, S.C., hundreds of people crowded into Zion Baptist Church to kick off a march to the Statehouse for the annual King Day rally. “Martin Luther King had a dream. Some 38 years later, how much progress have we really made toward living that dream?” the Rev. Charles Jackson told the crowd. In Philadelphia, organizers of the Martin Luther King Day of Service were expecting thousands of volunteers to help with 600 projects in the area. Among them: the building of a house that will be trucked to Lafayette, La., for a family left homeless by Katrina and construction of a two-story playground house. Volunteers also were working to provide meals to people living with HIV and AIDS. Last month, the board of directors of The King Center, located next to the Atlanta church, broached the possibility of selling the center to the National Park Service. But some King family members have been sharply critical of the idea. Isaac Newton Farris, a nephew of King who is president of the King Center, is one of the supporters, and he mentioned the idea in his remarks Monday. Farris said the sale would help them “devote more resources – human and economic – to developing programs, not managing buildings.” “You still will be able to visit the King Center – we just won’t own it,” he said. “We want the King Center to be engineers of society, not engineers of buildings.”last_img read more