City leaders commemorate life of MLK during ceremonies in Columbia

City leaders commemorate life of MLK during ceremonies in Columbia

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Just a few miles down the road from the South Carolina Statehouse celebrations, the Capital City celebrated Martin Luther King Day with its 32nd annual ceremony at Martin Luther King Park and Center with a wreath-laying ceremony on Harden Street.

Monday marked the 10-year anniversary of a stretch of Harden Street being given the honorary name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.

“It’s a constant becoming of what Martin called this nation to become and to be. So, when you ride through this area and you see this historical marker and you see the wreath-laying ceremony, it’s not because the dream is dead but because the dream is alive and well in this city of ours and in this nation of ours,” Columbia City Councilman Ed McDowell Jr. said.

City leaders said that Monday was about unity. It’s a day to come together and remember the man who inspired communities across the nation, like Columbia, that we are not defined by our differences but rather by our ability to come together despite those differences.

City leaders gathered on Harden Street, one of the busiest streets that goes right through the heart of Five Points, for the 10th annual wreath-laying ceremony on a stretch of the road that holds the honorary title of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. The street was given its name in 2010 by Columbia City Council and city council members said they hope the wreath symbolizes that his dream is not dead, but it’s alive and it’s up to us as a community to continue to make that dream a reality.

“Columbia, for me, has changed tremendously, but while there has been a number of positive things, expansive things that has happened in our city, there is still work to be done. Martin calls us to move forward, to continue that legacy, and the work that is said before us,” McDowell said.

Shortly after the ceremony, there was also an event at Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Center. Mayor Steve Benjamin stressed during the opening statements that Columbia’s future is bright, but we must all be intentional about making it bright, the way Martin Luther King dedicated his life to doing.

Dr. Bobby Donaldson, the UofSC Director of the Center for Civil Rights and Research, gave the keynote speech at Monday’s event after Mayor Benjamin’s opening remarks.

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