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Brooklyn celebrates the life of Dr. King

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The ‘dream’ that would change the course of our history continues, as politicians and entertainers from all over came to commemorate the birthday of the man known as Martin Luther King Jr. “We stand on the shoulders of those who paved the path that we want to march down,” said Governor Eliot Spitzer. “It took Dr. Kings’ leadership, forthright nature and brilliance to get us to where we are today,” he added. “Come Share the Dream,” the 21st Annual tribute to King, was hosted by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and was held at the Peter Jay Sharp Building; 30 Lafayette Avenue. Hundreds came to share a part in the memory of King, who would be 78 today, had an assassins bullet not taken his life on the evening of April 4, 1968. Yet 39 years later, his life and death still appears to influence the world as members of the audience held hands and sang along to historical African-American hymns such as “Wait in the Water,” and “We Shall Overcome.” Also there to give tribute were performers Will Power and Fred Thomas – a member of the late James Brown band – who gave an ‘electrifying’ performance. “We are blessed and honored to have Martin Luther King Jr. live in our time for thirty-nine years, and for thirty-nine years we have missed him,” said Lieutenant Governor David A. Patterson. “The act that we can do to celebrate his birthday is to try at whatever we are doing, to be the best. If it is done in a way that assists others, it would make Dr. King proud,” Patterson added. Also in attendance were, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilmember Yvette Clarke and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, among others. Born on January 15, 1929, throughout his lifetime, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over 2,500 times while writing four books. Taking on the severely segregated South, King was arrested over 20 times and assaulted at least four times including a stab to the chest – by a black woman – on September 20, 1958 while autographing his recently published book. Despite all the fierce persecutions he faced, King stressed the importance of non-violence and made history several times. He led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama that made headlines; planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters, and directed a march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. At the age of 35, King became the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. “On his last birthday he delivered a speech where he said that he did not want to be remembered for the three or four hundred awards that he received. He did not want to be recognized as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965. He wanted rather to be remembered as a drum major for justice,” said Patterson, who has also made history as the first black Lieutenant Governor. But according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials, more work still need to be done. “Thirty-nine years ago, Dr. King shared with us his dream for the future and gave us a vision of equality to work towards,” he said. According to Bloomberg, although a tremendous amount of progress has been made over the past five years and the unemployment rate has been cut, there is still more to do. “We still do no provide the kind of education that every child deserves and every child is going to need to succeed and conquer their ‘American Dream’,” he said. He stated that graduation rates are on the rise and parents are more involved but “we have a long way to go and only if we work together, can we achieve it.”

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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