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Monday, January 16, 2012 - 10:51am

Communities Celebrate MLK

Georgia communities across the state are honoring civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a full day of service. King would have been 83 years-old on January 15th. The nation formally honors him with a national holiday Monday.

Rome dedicated the weekend to Dr. King by showing the play “A Place of Pride and Dignity” at the city’s auditorium on Friday. The city completed its festivities with a “freedom march” down Broad Street earlier Monday.

Sunday, residents of Athens celebrated through arts with dance and spoken word, and held playground cleanups and landscaping Monday morning.

In Savannah, about 40 members of the Occupy Savannah movement held a candlelight vigil Sunday night in remembrance of the civil rights activist. They believe he was fighting not only for civil rights, but for social equality as well. A Parade was also held in Dr. King’s honor Monday morning. After the parade, Savannah Feed the Hungry and E. Broad Street Boys and Girls Club hosted an MLK dinner for the homeless and poor.

A celebration of Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday is in effect in Augusta. A parade hosted by the NAACP kicked off the events Monday afternoon. There was a debate between Paine College and Howard University on the state of young black men in America. A free screening of a civil rights documentary “Stars and Bars Aflame” was scheduled for Monday night.

More than 1,000 Columbus community leaders gathered Monday morning to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 26th Annual Unity Award Breakfast. The theme of the even is “Keeping the Dream Alive: Empowering People through Economic Development.”

Columbus also starts a new tradition on Martin Luther King Jr. day. Monday kicked off the first annual MLK Day of Service and 40 Days of Peace Initiatives. The peace initiatives consist of daily peace messages, daily acts of peace, and 40 days of the peace pledge. The public is invited to attend all of these events.

The city of Macon is celebrating King for the entire month of January. The annual memorial march began at 11 a.m. Monday, and was followed by a church service at Steward Chapel AME. The historic Douglass Theatre has scheduled to host the MLK symposium, moderated by former mayor C. Jack Ellis, January 23rd to discuss community issues.

But, the finale will come January 30th at the memorial concert for Dr. King and former Macon senator Robert Brown, who passed in December, at Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church.

Martin Luther King Day was proclaimed a holiday in 1986, and this year marks 26th anniversary.

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