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Civil Rights pioneer remembered for service

Published 3:40pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that he hoped to be remembered for serving others.

On Monday, hundreds of Butler County citizens and civic leaders gathered at Dunbar Recreation Center to do just that.

King, a Baptist minister and Civil Rights pioneer, was honored at the Butler County Civic League’s annual MLK Memorial Breakfast.

Butler County Schools Superintendent Darren Douthitt said that King’s legacy is one of service.

“One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King is ‘everybody can be great because everyone can serve,’” Douthitt said. “Service is something very, very special to living and Dr. King understood that.”

Butler County Commissioner Allin Whittle said that honoring King means remembering the sacrifice he made. King’s role in the Civil Rights movement ultimately cost him his life when he was shot to death by a sniper while standing on a hotel balcony.

“Today is a day to pay tribute to Dr. King and all the men and woman that have given their all,” Whittle said. “Dr. King gave his all.”

Monday was set aside as a day to honor King’s memory, but it was also the day that President Barack Obama was publically sworn into office for his second term.

It was a fact that was not lost on those in attendance at the breakfast.

“It’s appropriate that we honor Dr. King today,” Butler County Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams said. “Today President Obama, our country’s first black president, will be sworn in for a second term. It’s fitting because Dr. King stood for equality and justice for everyone. I think he would be proud to see all that his work has accomplished.”

Rep. Charles Newton pointed out the significance of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech,” Newton said. “I don’t think there’s anyone that would say we haven’t made progress since then, but we have much more to do.”

In a show of unity on Monday, the crowd joined in singing “We Shall Overcome.”

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