Kansas Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.

The Kansas African American Museum in Wichita held its annual celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday. The event was filled with music, dance, awards for volunteer work and a recitation of the historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Let's go next to one of many cities where people are remembering Martin Luther King Jr. on this holiday weekend.

Carla Eckels reports from our member station KMWU in Wichita, Kansas.

(Soundbite of singing)

CARLA ECKELS: With temperatures ranging in the mid 20s Sunday, nearly 400 people braved the cold to be part of this celebration. It included a 100-member youth choir, an instrumental ensemble, and lots of interpretative dancers. Between musical selections, Martin Luther King's speeches were recited.

Here, 17-year-old Jonathan Van(ph) quotes his most famous.

Mr. JONATHAN VAN: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down at the table of brotherhood.

ECKELS: Pastor Lincoln Montgomery told the audience that the words have as much meaning today as in 1963.

Reverend LINCOLN MONTGOMERY: The words of that speech still stir us, don't they? We ought to say amen again. Consider the fact that that was just 45 years ago, so you get some sense of how far we have come, and I simply would remind you this afternoon that although we have come a great distance, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. So let us remember that while we have come a long way, we still got a long way yet to go.

ECKELS: Nineteen-year-old Zachary Dehar(ph) went to the stage to deliver the "Rediscovering Lost Values" speech that Dr. King first gave in 1954.

Mr. ZACHARY DEHAR: But I'm here to say to you that some things are right and some things are wrong, eternally so, absolutely so. It's wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong. It is wrong in America. It is wrong in Germany. It is wrong in Russia. It is wrong in China. It was wrong in 2000 B.C. and it is wrong in 1954 A.D.

ECKELS: Many in attendance say they're glad to be here to celebrate the legacy of a great man. Mayor Carl Brewer is the first elected black mayor of Wichita.

Mr. CARL BREWER: Let's just not celebrate today. Let's live the life that Martin Luther King would have wanted us to live and let's continue to work on the struggles that were presented before us.

For NPR News, I'm Carla Eckels in Wichita.

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