It was a picture perfect afternoon in Atlanta as the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade commenced through downtown Atlanta’s Peachtree Street and ventured south to the The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change on Auburn Avenue. Monday, January 18, 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of recognizing Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday as a federal holiday. President Ronald Reagan signed Congress’ bill in 1983 to set aside the third Monday in January to remember the civil rights icon, to start in 1986.
It was such a delight to see so many smiling faces from all races and varied religions remembering King, who was assassinated when he was only 39 would have been 87-years-old this past January 15.
North Carolina Civil Rights Icon the Rev. Dr. William Barber, II delivered the keynote message for the King Holiday Observance (KHO) annual Commemorative Service at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, Horizon Sanctuary. Barber is the president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, member of the National NAACP Board of Directors and chair of the National NAACP Legislative Political Action Committee.
The King Center’s founder, Coretta Scott King, organized the first religious service commemorating Dr. King’s birthday in 1969 with the intention that it would become an annual tradition and the spiritual centerpiece of future observances of Dr. King’s birthday.