MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Some people are off work Monday as we take time to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This year marks 50 years since the legendary civil rights leader spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. for his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King’s dream was to end racism across the U.S., and after that speech he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 at a Memphis, Tenn., hotel, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been a federal holiday since 1986. On Monday, Minnesotans and people across the country are gathering for a day of service in his honor.
There’s also a statewide celebration at St. Paul Central High School, and the Minneapolis Convention Center hosted the 23rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast. Officials said the theme for this year’s breakfast was education.
Sharon Smith-Akinsanya with the United Negro College Fund, one of the sponsors of the breakfast, said the emphasis with education is fierce urgency of now.
“I just can’t think of anything more strong or powerful. When you think about the achievement gap in our state with black and brown kids in our state and nation, UNCF and General Mills thought it would be really important to highlight the fact that we all need to pull together,” Smith-Akinsanya said. “We all need to come together in the community to do something about graduating more black and brown kids from high school. It’s an important message.”
Marian Wright Edelman was the keynote speaker for Monday’s breakfast. She’s the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, and she’s all about making sure the nation does something about education.
“It’s not leaders, experts who make movements. It’s people, it’s ordinary people who are on the margins and who get tired of injustice who make movements, and it’s time for that next movement. Our young people have to be a part of it,” Edelman said.
St. Paul held a march for civil rights in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Weather definitely played a factor as the participants were extra bundled up in the below zero conditions.
The parade route went along Marshall Avenue in St. Paul. It’s held every year to try and mirror Martin Luther King Jr.’s legendary civil rights march. Officials said about 200 people came out for the march.