Arkansans celebrate life, legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, many across the state reflected on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — Today was a culmination of the events celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. around the state. 

It's also the 25th Anniversary of Arkansas' Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. There were celebrations everywhere today, including one with hundreds of people in North Little Rock.

Since 1993, the MLK Commission has traveled the state with programming for youth. 

“I'm going to be reciting my speech and I'm really excited, this is my first time,” said Arianna Williams, a student at David O’dodd Elementary. She and many others performed during today’s program honoring the legacy of a hero. 

“We're celebrating how Martin Luther King tried to stop segregation for all people,” Kendall Redding said. 

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Now, 50 years later, and his work and sacrifice for all people live on through what is now his very own holiday.

“We're the number four destination in the country for volunteerism. Right now as we speak, we have volunteer organizations and youth groups participating in hours and hours of volunteer service,” sad Tiffany Pettus, MLK Commission Executive Assistant.

The 25th Annual Mega King Fest was held North Little Rock High School this year for the first time. 

The day of service and free educational event provided onsite community service projects and activities for the entire family. 

“Here on the north side in September of 1957, six African American seniors attempted to integrate North Little Rock High School but were turned away,” Pettus said. 

Students are thankful to know King's legacy and appreciate the sacrifice he and other Civil Rights pioneers made on behalf of their future.

“He was a person who fought for racial equality. He was very strong and powerful,” Arianna Williams said. 

This is the first year the holiday is celebrated separately in Arkansas from that of Robert E. Lee.

"Governor Hutchinson spoke eloquently this morning at our prayer breakfast and he mentioned that in his heart it was the right thing to do, so we applaud those efforts,” Pettus said. 

Arkansas Department of Education live streamed the event nationwide for the second time this year, allowing students and teachers everywhere an opportunity to learn.

© 2018 KTHV-TV


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