Nation honors King on day of Obama inauguration - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Nation honors King on day of Obama inauguration

Updated:
By KATE BRUMBACK
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - Commemorative events for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. slid seamlessly into celebrations of the swearing-in Monday of the nation's first black president, with many Americans moved by the reminder of how far the country has come since the 1960s.

"This is the dream that Dr. King talked about in his speech. We see history in the making," said Joyce Oliver, who observed King Day by visiting the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., built on the site of the old Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated in 1968.

In Atlanta, at the 45th annual service for the civil rights leader at the church where he was pastor, those gathered in the sanctuary were invited to stay to watch President Barack Obama's second inauguration on a big-screen TV.

As the nearly three-hour service came to a close at Ebenezer Baptist Church, organizers suggested forgoing the traditional singing of "We Shall Overcome" because the inauguration was about to begin. But the crowd shouted protests, so the choir and congregation sang the civil rights anthem before settling in to watch the events in Washington.

In the nation's capital, several dozen people took turns taking pictures of the King statue before heading to the National Mall, about a 15-minute walk away, for the inauguration.

Nicole Hailey, 34, drove in with her family from Monroe, N.C., a six-hour trip that started at midnight. She attended Obama's first inauguration four years ago and was carrying her Metro ticket from that day, a commemorative one with the president's face printed on it.

She and her family visited the King memorial before staking out a spot for the swearing-in.

"It's Martin Luther King's special day," she said. "We're just celebrating freedom."

In Columbia, S.C., civil rights leaders paused during their annual King Day rally to watch the inauguration on a big screen. Most of the crowd of several hundred stayed to watch Obama's address.

"You feel like anything is possible," Jelin Cunningham, a 15-year-old black girl, said of Obama's presidency. "I've learned words alone can't hurt or stop you, because there have been so many hateful things said about him over the past four years."

At the Atlanta service, King's youngest daughter, Bernice King, said the country had been through a difficult year, with divisive elections, military conflicts and natural disasters.

"We pray that this day will be the beginning of a new day in America," she said. "It will be a day when people draw inspiration from the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. It will be a day when people realize and recognize that if it were not for Dr. King and those who fought the fight fought in that movement, we would not be celebrating this presidency."

She also stressed her father's commitment to nonviolence, saying that after the 1956 bombing of the family's home in Montgomery, Ala., her father stood on the porch and urged an angry, armed crowd to fight not with guns but with Christian love.

"This apostle of nonviolence perhaps introduced one of the bravest experiences of gun control that we've ever heard of in the history of our nation," she said.

The service also kicked off a year of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington. A group of students, led by King's great-niece Farris Christine Watkins, delivered sections of the speech in turn.

By the end, the crowd was on its feet, shouting, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

The keynote speaker was the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, a socially conservative evangelical association. It marked the first time a Latino had been invited to deliver the King Day address at Ebenezer Baptist.

He urged the audience to work to fulfill King's dream.

"Silence is not an option when 30 million of our brothers and sisters live in poverty," he said. "Silence is not an option when 11 million undocumented individuals continue to live in the shadows."

___

Associated Press writers Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, S.C.; Jessica Gresko in Washington; and Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tenn., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Talking bird helped break school abduction case

    Talking bird helped break school abduction case

    Saturday, August 30 2014 5:51 PM EDT2014-08-30 21:51:32 GMT
    A Philadelphia detective has testified about a foul-mouthed bird that helped lead police to the woman charged with abducting a 5-year-old from school.More >>
    A Philadelphia detective has testified about a foul-mouthed bird that helped lead police to the woman charged with abducting a 5-year-old from school.
    More >>
  • Toledo zoo welcomes 100-year-old tortoise

    Toledo zoo welcomes 100-year-old tortoise

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:11 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:11:09 GMT
    TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The newest resident of the Toledo Zoo is a 100-year-old dome-shelled Galapagos tortoise that weighs in at 440 pounds. The tortoise, named Emerson, arrived at the zoo Wednesday night from the San Diego Zoo. He was escorted by Toledo Zoo personnel on his flight to Detroit before being driven to Toledo and uncrated inside a heated shed. Handlers welcomed him with carrot and sweet potato treats and a neck rub. The (Toledo) Blade reports Emerson is the zoo's first Galapagos to...More >>
    TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The newest resident of the Toledo Zoo is a 100-year-old dome-shelled Galapagos tortoise that weighs in at 440 pounds. The tortoise, named Emerson, arrived at the zoo Wednesday night from the San Diego Zoo. He was escorted by Toledo Zoo personnel on his flight to Detroit before being driven to Toledo and uncrated inside a heated shed. Handlers welcomed him with carrot and sweet potato treats and a neck rub. The (Toledo) Blade reports Emerson is the zoo's first Galapagos to...More >>
  • Ohio serial rapist gets 135 years in prison

    Ohio serial rapist gets 135 years in prison

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:10 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:10:21 GMT
    CLEVELAND (AP) - A man who was linked to seven Cleveland-area rapes when authorities reopened hundreds of previously unsolved rape cases has been sentenced to up to 135 years in prison. The sentence by a judge in Cuyahoga County on Wednesday means 69-year-old Robert Green likely will never get out of prison. He was indicted in five of the cases in November and two more in May. He pleaded guilty. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that the rapes occurred over nearly a decade. They were unso...More >>
    CLEVELAND (AP) - A man who was linked to seven Cleveland-area rapes when authorities reopened hundreds of previously unsolved rape cases has been sentenced to up to 135 years in prison. The sentence by a judge in Cuyahoga County on Wednesday means 69-year-old Robert Green likely will never get out of prison. He was indicted in five of the cases in November and two more in May. He pleaded guilty. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that the rapes occurred over nearly a decade. They were unso...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms