The words of "We Shall Overcome", the famous civil rights anthem, resonated through downtown Meridian during the day's festivities honoring the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Martin Luther King is a hero not just to the Black people, but to people like myself, because he showed the way to live in peace and in love and in joy during very difficult times," said the Rev. John Jacob. "I admire the man."
A huge crowd gathered at Dumont Plaza was a tribute to Dr. King, the man, and a testimony to the number of lives his life touched. .
"This is our 4th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Parade and Celebration,"
said event coordinator Linda Wilson-Jones. "As you can see, the crowd has been really, really great."
"I brought the whole family out because I wanted them to see and realize and hear the historical significance," said Ron Turner, "and wanted them to get a feel so that they could kind of experience the impact that Dr. King's life had on this whole nation."
The theme of this year's celebration was "Teamwork Makes the Dream Work", inspiring a spirit of unity that could be felt throughout the crowd.
"I think everyone felt a really warm feeling today in the celebration," said King admirer, Janice Tinsley.
They felt the heartfelt desire and resolve to realize the dream of Dr. King and usher in a new day.
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Timeline of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life
- Michael King, later known as Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929.
- September 20, 1944, King began his freshman year at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
- August 6, 1946, the Atlanta Constitution published King's letter to the editor stating that black people "are entitled to the basic rights and opportunities of American citizens."
- In January and February of 1947 King's article, "The Purpose of Education" was published in the Morehouse student paper, the Maroon Tiger.
- 1948 was a busy year for Martin Luther King, Jr. In February he was ordained and appointed as the assistant pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
- In June of 1948, King received his B.A. in Sociology from Morehouse College.
- In September that same year he began his studies at Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Penn.
- May 1951, King graduated from Crozer with a Bachelor of Divinity degree, and delivered the Valedictory Address at commencement.
- In September of 1951, he began his graduate studies in systematic theology at Boston University.
- On June 18, 1953, Martin Luther King, Jr. married Coretta Scott near Marion, Ala.
- February 28, 1954, King delivers the sermon, "Rediscovering Lost Values" at the Second Baptist Church in Detroit.
- On September 1, 1954, King begins his pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.
- June 5, 1955 Martin Luther King earns his PhD. in Systematic Theology from Boston University.
- On December 5, 1955 King becomes the president of MIA, the Montgomery Improvement Association.
- In February of 1957, Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared on the cover of Time magazine, as Time’s Man of the Year.
- During the spring of 1963, King and his staff guided mass demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, where local white police officials were known from their anti-black attitudes.
- Subsequent mass demonstrations in many communities culminated in a march on August 28, 1963, that attracted more than 250,000 protesters to Washington, D. C. Addressing the marchers from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" oration.
- In December of 1964, King was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while seeking to assist a garbage workers' strike in Memphis.
- He died revered by many for his martyrdom on behalf of non-violence, and condemned by others for his militancy and insurgent views.
Source: http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/ (The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University)