By Jason Schwartz
South Palm Beach County residents listened recently to speeches, prayed and marched in remembrance of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and his struggle for racial equality as the nation inaugurated its first black president for a second term.
That Barack Obama’s political milestone coincided with the national observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was a reminder of both how far the country has come and how many issues remain for minorities, participants said.
“We are just ecstatic, we are just delighted,” said Lillie Strainge, chairwoman of the MLK Coordinating Committee. “I think back to 150 years ago when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and all slaves were to be free, and I think about that because it led up to the 13th Amendment which made everyone free in our country.”
Strainge said that King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is still relevant to this day because the nation is still in the process of making his dream come true.
The federal holiday, established in 1983 and designated as a day of service in 1994, was marked across Palm Beach County through the weekend with gatherings for reflection, celebrations at churches and community centers, marches and a memorial walk.
Residents in Boynton Beach marched down Martin Luther King Boulevard to Heritage Park where they honored seven leaders at a brief early-morning service.
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