Marchers remember King's dream
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a better world. On what would have been his 78th birthday, civil rights activist Victoria Davis challenged several hundred people in Duluth on Monday to become keepers of King's dream. "Often the dre...
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a better world.
On what would have been his 78th birthday, civil rights activist Victoria Davis challenged several hundred people in Duluth on Monday to become keepers of King's dream.
"Often the dreamer never lives to complete the dream -- their dream outlives them," Davis said in her keynote address during Duluth's Martin Luther King Jr. Day community celebration at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
"Ultimately, the work of the dreamer has to be fulfilled by people who share the dream," she said. "That is where you and I come in. You and I come in at this point to say to Dr. King: 'You gave your life for this ideal. We will give you our service.' So you and I must continue to live out Dr. King's values. We must work to protect the right to vote. We must work for justice across all aspects of our everyday lives."
Monday's events began with a community breakfast at First United Methodist Church. Later in the morning, more than 500 people gathered at the Washington Center for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March.
Deb Johnson of Duluth brought her two daughters to the march to help build hope and unity in the community.
"I think events like this help build understanding and call us to action as individuals,'' Johnson said.
Robert Thompson, 15, said he was marching because King was "a great man."
"He let me learn that everyone is not different -- we are all equal," Thompson said. "He stood up for our rights."
"If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be standing here free,'' said Terry Ryan, 15.
Marchers bundled up against Monday's cold and wind and carried signs recalling King and his messages of peace, love and tolerance. At times, the line of marchers stretched more than a block long as they walked down Lake Avenue to Superior Street and then through the skyway system to the DECC for the community celebration of King's life and achievements.
Born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1929, King became a leader in the civil rights movement. In 1957, he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. During the next 11 years King traveled more then 6 million miles and spoke more than 2,500 times. He was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963. The next year, at 35, he became the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968.
Davis, who grew up in Memphis and heard King speak while growing up, talked of King's formative years as well as his accomplishments. King began his life hating white people, Davis said.
"He had to journey from hate to love," she said.
The fight for equal rights continues today, Davis said. Not only are there new battles to fight, but old issues are coming back, Davis said. While fighting old battles can be frustrating, Davis encouraged people not to give in.
"Be a dream-keeper,'' she said. "Don't wait for others to take a stand. You can stand alone."