PICS: MLK Holiday Honors Civil Rights Leader

PICS: MLK Holiday Honors Civil Rights Leader (Image 1)

The nation paused to remember Martin Luther King Jr. with parades, marches and service projects.

King was born Jan. 15, 1929, and the federal holiday is the third Monday in January.

In Atlanta, a service will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was pastor. In Memphis, Tenn., where King was assassinated, an audio recording of an interview with King will be played at the National Civil Rights Museum.

The recording sheds new light on a phone call President John F. Kennedy made to King’s wife more than 50 years ago.

Historians generally agree Kennedy’s phone call to Coretta Scott King expressing concern over her husband’s arrest in October 1960 – and Robert Kennedy’s work behind the scenes to get King released – helped JFK win the White House.

Is The Upstate Living Out Dr. King’s Dream

The Sounds of Diversity Choir and Orchestra kicked off the City of Spartanburg’s 27th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Celebration, Monday night. The night honored the civil rights leader and his message through song, speeches and student art.

7 On Your Side wanted to find out if we’ve reached Dr. King’s goals or is there more to do. We asked keynote speaker, author and educator Dr. Adolph Brown.

“On a certain level, we’ve come a long way,” said Dr. Brown. “But then with those covert conversations that should be crucial conversations at the table where everybody can discuss, we need to do that.”

According to Dr. Brown, many communities are still divided by differences. He says if we want to heal from history then there needs to be fellowship and communication.

“Reach out, get out of your comfort zone, and get out of the box,” said Brown.

We also checked with city leaders to see what they’re doing right now to bring the Upstate community closer to Dr. King’s dream.

“We’re making some strides to improve some of our quality of life efforts,” said Spartanburg Community Services Director Mitch Kennedy.

Kennedy says Spartanburg groups are working to build community. He points to the city’s $2.5 million plan to upgrade parks and community centers. He also adds the current redevelopment of the city’s Northside.

“If we can show our community how we change one community, it gives a blueprint on how to change our entire city,” said Kennedy.

When it comes to living out the dream of Dr. King, the city of Spartanburg also points to its diversity of leadership. Currently the city has 15 department head positions held by minorities. Three African Americans and three females currently hold positions on city council.

Of the seven colleges and universities in Spartanburg two have female presidents. And one has an Arab-American college president.

Also the in-coming police chief is an African American. And his second in command is an African American female.

Obama Celebrates MLK Holiday, Visits Soup Kitchen

President Barack Obama is honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service by helping a soup kitchen prepare its daily meals.

Obama took his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha to DC Central Kitchen, which is a few minutes away from the White House by presidential motorcade.

They joined an assembly line that was churning out burritos. Asked what the burritos were being stuffed with, Obama said it looked like lamb. It actually was beef in a sauce, along with unidentified vegetables and cheese.

Obama said he came to help the facility mark its 25th anniversary on Monday.

DC Central Kitchen prepares thousands of meals every day for distribution to local shelters.

King Remembered At Atlanta Service

Hundreds of people have filled Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to remember and reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., who preached at the church.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal was one of the speakers at the service, which featured prayers, music and speeches. The Republican governor said he he is committed to finding an appropriate way to honor King at the Georgia Capitol, but he didn’t go into specifics.

Across the country, people are honoring King with parades, marches and service projects.

King was born Jan. 15, 1929, and the federal holiday is the third Monday in January.

NC NAACP President Celebrates King Day In SC

North Carolina NAACP President William Barber says what conservative leaders have done to social justice in South Carolina and North Carolina has been mighty low, but he thinks people in both states are ready to go to higher ground.

Barber spoke Monday at the South Carolina NAACP’s annual rally to honor Martin Luther King Jr. at the Statehouse in Columbia. He left the few thousand at the rally cheering and rocking like they were at a gospel revival, chanting “mighty low” and “higher ground” back to him.

Barber and others emphasized themes like more money for education and Medicare. They also spoke about the importance of voting.

What wasn’t in Barber’s speech was a call for mass protests like the ones he has led in North Carolina.

Another issue on the agenda for the SC NAACP is getting the Confederate flag moved off the Statehouse grounds. The very first King Day at the Dome march and rally in 2000 was to protest the Confederate flag that had been flying on the Statehouse dome since 1961. After that protest, which drew more than 50,000 people, lawmakers reached a compromise and took the flag off the dome, moving it to the Confederate Soldiers Monument in front of the Statehouse. The NAACP has been continuing to protest, saying the flag should not be on the Statehouse grounds.

SC NAACP president Dr. Lonnie Randolph says the group will take a new approach: asking African-American athletes not to come to college in the state. He told 7 On Your Side before the march they would, “Let young men, African-American men and women who are considering this state for their athletic prowess, to know that this ain’t a state that you can come in after you’re finished running up and down the football field and dunking basketballs. You still can’t get a job here making what your white counterparts make, strictly because of the Confederate mindset. So we are going to get those young people to not support that industry.”

House and Senate leaders have said repeatedly since 2000 that, as far as they’re concerned, the compromise that moved the Confederate flag off the dome settled the issue.

Upstate Events Also Scheduled For MLK Holiday

To find times and places for MLK celebrations click here.

(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)

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