MO Statehouse
5:23 pm
Fri January 14, 2011

State of Missouri celebrates legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The state of Missouri paid tribute today to Martin Luther King, Jr., at a ceremony in Jefferson City.

About 150 people attended the event.  The diverse audience was encouraged to pay tribute to the slain Civil Rights leader by treating others with kindness and looking for ways to serve others.

The keynote speaker was Bill Miller, the first African-American mayor of the St. Louis suburb of Berkeley.

"There are a lot of people who are gonna be off Monday (and say), 'Thank God, I can go to Wal-Mart!' Miller told the audience, garnering laughs.  "But you know something?  I'm gonna treat somebody nice that day; I'm gonna do a service thing."

Miller also said that people of all races have more in common than they realize.

"As (I grew) up, and (I got) to know people, I began to understand what Dr. King was trying to get at," Miller said.  "It is time for us to know each other personally, not know of each other, and I think that that's the key."

Miller says he believes King would be proud of how far Americans have come in race relations, but also says there's still a ways to go.

Today's event included singing from a local school group, and a dance troupe from Lincoln University which performed to music and to some of King's written words.  School children were also awarded prizes for taking part in poster and essay contests.