City marks MLK Day with songs, speeches, community service

City marks MLK Day with songs, speeches, community service

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Prayers, songs, speeches, a march and community service projects were part of the Monday celebration honoring slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Melodious sounds came from the Dillard University choir as it sang songs like "Lift Every Voice and Sing," and "Swing Down Chariot and Let Me Ride."

As hundreds gathered in front of City Hall, it was a celebration reminiscent of the civil rights movement.

"'He didn't just talk, he walked, he actually went," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

King was felled by an assassin's bullet at the age of 39. He fought for racial equality while emphasizing non-violent tactics.

"We definitely need to come together, no matter the color," said Nicole Horne, an African-American who attended the events at City Hall.

Carrie Craven, a white female, said she told her son about King's fight for voting rights.

"One of the ways that MLK and other activists worked for that was to march together," she said.

School bands and sorority and fraternity organizations filled the parade. And for this year's MLK festivities, young people had a major role in the planning.
"It's a very powerful thing for me because it shows me that the young people are interested and that we can carry on the legacy," said Alyssia Gordon, who was at the front of the parade holding a photo of King.

"A great honor to walk through the community knowing that Dr. King and A.L. Davis and all those other great men walked these streets," said Dorian Francis, who walked alongside Gordon, and was also among the young involved in the planning.

"We always have to pass the mantle and the baton to the younger people," said Avis Brock, who for years has been involved in putting together the city's festivities.

And many young adults said they strive daily to make sure King's death was not in vain.

"I am making sure that I am holding myself the way that a lady should, and I am not for all of the nonsense," said Lakein McGee.

"Just carrying the light, celebrating the tradition of excellence, celebrating the fight that we've got to continue today," said Kendall McManus-Thomas.

Even very young kids could easily speak about King's message.

"He wanted whites and blacks to be equal," said Akelia Matthews.

"He was a civil rights leader who helped African-Americans to get their civil rights," said Kevin Price.

Many said King would be pained by the violence gripping urban centers like New Orleans.

"The fact that too many of our kids have better access to guns and drugs than textbooks and computers is not a part of Dr. King's dream," said Congressman Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans.

The 2016 MLK holiday arrived as Confederate-era statues are set to be taken down. Last month, the City Council voted in favor of their removal.

King would have turned 87.

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