Honoring a legacy across the state

Monday, January 21st 2008, 7:47 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

It's been 21 years since King's birthday became a national holiday, and each year officials say his message of non-violence, social change and equality become more significant.

Today, across Oklahoma City, King's life and legacy took center stage.

It began at the Reed Conference Center where candles and a chorus of young voices led the day of remembrance for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"It's not just a day off of work or a day off of school," prayer breakfast attendee Crystal Davis said. "It's really a day to come and really understand the meaning of what he stood for."

"I feel good because I see the doors that was opened, but we still got a long way to go which is why we must join together," prayer breakfast attendee Carl Woods said.

And they did join together, marching in silence along NE 23 Street and of course, MLK, before convening at the Oklahoma Historical Center. Once there, others joined the group speaking out about the importance of the day and the need for continued activism.

"When you say you value your vote and you're voting your values, understand that these babies right here represent our vote," Rep. Anastasia Pittman (D) Oklahoma City said.

Oklahoma has a long history of political and social activism. Clara Luper staged an infamous sit-in at a dinner in downtown Oklahoma City, which later led to the integration of restaurants across the state. But King is credited with bringing the civil rights movement to the forefront, through non-violent protests and powerful speeches.

It's a message Governor Henry says never gets old.

"It's a message of unity and peace, hope, love and compassion and freedom and equality," Gov. Henry said. "It's great to have these children out here to really help us not just to dream the dream, but to live the dream."

Governor Henry rang a replica of the Liberty Bell after today's events in honor of Dr. King.

Doctor King's birthday became a federal holiday in 1986.