Martin Luther King Jr. Day | St. Louis Public Radio

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Jabari Blakemore and Anna Murrary Robinson, of the Carnahan High School drum line lead a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from Wellston to Pine Lawn. Jan. 15, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Almost 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, the key focus of area civil rights leaders is to keep the national leader’s legacy — and message — alive for a new generation.

Which helps explain why state Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis, sought to rev up Monday’s annual event at the Old Courthouse to mark King’s birthday. Amid all the songs and speeches, Franks focused on the importance of action.