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New Orleans commemorates the legacy of MLK with speeches, march & other activities

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

In A.L. Davis Park, the melodious sounds of the Dillard University chorus could be heard singing, “Swing low sweet chariot”.

The city’s commemoration of the legacy of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was underway.

Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, was the keynote speaker. He borrowed some of Dr. King’s words.

“There is a fierce urgency now in the United States of America and right here in Louisiana. Now is the time to come together as one people to support one another rather than to tear each other apart,” said the governor before hundreds who filled the park.

While revering Dr. King’s legacy references to a derogatory statement President Donald Trump is accused of making about Haiti, some other countries and the continent of Africa were woven into speeches.

"It should not have to be said in the United States of America in 2018, seven and a half years into my service and almost finished that we don't judge people based on their nation of origin, we don't judge people based on the color of their skin,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, also a Democrat.

King dreamed of a society where all would be judged by the content of their character.

"Dr. King who was physically right across the street where the SCLC started and began. We are not in some far away and distant place. We are at the place where it started and because we are we have a special obligation to make the sacrifice that is called upon today, to confront ignorance, to confront bigotry, to confront racism,” continued the mayor.

Arm-in-arm, city, state and faith leaders walked miles to the MLK statue on Claiborne Avenue. A march that was reminiscent of the turbulent 50s and 60s.

Thousands lined the march and parade route.

Numerous school bands played, as well.

“I know that he wanted everybody, the racist people that wanted to fight, he wanted everybody to come together and be a community,” said a small girl named Seimaj Stanley.

"It means a lot. It has changed every part of our life. I mean, you know it's coming together showing love to one another,” said Lela Logan, an adult.

This year the national holiday fell on Dr. King’s actual birthday, January 15.

“Happy Birthday Martin Luther King,” bellowed a group of jovial parade watchers.

It was a tapestry of races participated as marches and on the sidelines.

"The Jewish community certainly is in support of civil rights and the message of Dr. King and we felt it important that we show up and be united as a New Orleans community,” said Bradley Bain, of the Jewish Federation.

And while many along this parade route certainly believe there's been a great deal of progress toward Dr. King's dream, they also say there's a lot of work that still has to be done.

"We need to do more. We need to do more. It's not there yet,” said a tourist from New Jersey.

"In completion, it'll be a wonderful world if everyone gets along,” said Ronnel Butler, a local resident.

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