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Boro remembers King with man who knew him

Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of North Shore-LIJ, said the message of the day was to keep King's dream of racial harmony alive."All of us here are from different backgrounds. We all look different, but we're all the same," he said. "We should take a moment to reflect on what the world might be like and how different it might be if we had more Martin Luther Kings in existence today."After he took the podium, Poussaint showed images of King's civil rights march in Selma, Ala. that he, too, attended."When we were doing the civil rights march, the cities are not helping you," he said. "You had to do it all yourself when the system was against you."An accomplished doctor, Harvard professor and commentator on racial relations in America, Poussaint carried a doctor's bag "just in case" something happened to King during the march, he said. He showed images from his personal collection of soldiers with rifles who shadowed the procession, a 16-year-old marching without shoes, and celebrity protesters like Pete Seger, Harry Belafonte and even Anthony Perkins of the renowned horror film "Psycho." "We went to black funeral directors and got them to lend us their hearses so we could use them as ambulances in case anything went wrong," he said. White-owned hospitals would not reach out to the marchers, he said.In his presentation, he showed legions of marchers alongside King like civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael, who first coined the phrase "Black Power."That, he said, kicked off a new kind of revolution. As opposed to King's integration philosophies, Carmichael touted a more separatist movement."We salute King for it all and the country will remember him forever," Poussaint said. "But others need to be remembered, too."Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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