Recalling King's famous "I Have a Dream," speech, Atlanta Mayor
Kasim Reed said the late civil rights leader would want school
children to hear it as a call to stay in school and become educated
to better the world.
"We need to swap the lesson plan for a dream plan," Reed told a
crowd at Ebenezer Baptist Church gathered for the Martin Luther King
Jr. Day federal holiday.
He said King would want children to hear: "You are not going to
school just to study math, you're going to school to be somebody."
In New York City, newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio, who swept into
office promising broader opportunities for poorer residents, said at
a tribute: "Dr. King would tell us we can't wait" to bring income
equality to New Yorkers.
De Blasio vowed his administration would immediately "start the work
of changing this city."
At the packed Atlanta church near the Martin Luther King Center,
which promotes his philosophy of non-violence, King's daughter
Bernice was applauded for her call to honor his message by making
Monday a "no shots fired" day in the wake of school shootings and
other gun violence across the nation.
One commemorative event was a buyback program organized by the
Atlanta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People (NAACP) in the hopes of getting 1,000 weapons off the
King, who 50 years ago received the Nobel Peace Prize, was
assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968. He was born on January
15, 1929, and the holiday commemorating his birth was enacted in the
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President Barack Obama and his family were among the many Americans
who marked the federal holiday by volunteering for service projects
and other charity events. They were part of the team at DC Central
Kitchen, a local soup kitchen, that was filling burritos with beef
so the meals could be served to needy people.
"Sasha's technique is outstanding, by the way," Obama joked about
his 12-year-old daughter as they worked together on the volunteer
For the first time, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis,
which includes the Lorraine Motel where King was killed, publicly
played a recording of a 1960 interview with him discussing the civil
Magician David Copperfield donated the tape to the museum in 2012.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Ellen Wulfhorst in New York, Jon
Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Chizu
Nomiyama and Bernard Orr)
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