Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy honored across Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Nearly 50 years after his murder, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. continues to build.

Across the Louisville area Monday, people observed what would have been King's 88th birthday in a variety of ways, but the common themes were love, service and respect.

They planted trees in Shelby Park, organized the library at the Americana Community Center and paraded through west Louisville all to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

“All he wanted us to do is to live together as brothers and sisters,” said George Burney, who has organized the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Pride Parade for 45 years.

The Pride Parade began in 1972 with just ten cars, and it has now grown to hundreds.

The theme this year, the year after a record number of murders in Louisville, was “Stop the Killing.”

“It's time for us to stop and act like sensible people," Burney said. "We're not doing right. We're not doing right by our younger generation."

That's why Yvonne Fitzpatrick brought a carload of young people to the parade -- to learn and live King's legacy.

“I just love the history," Fitzpatrick said. "I love for them to know the history of what he did for us, for everyone."

At the University of Louisville, hundreds of students fanned out across town, celebrating King by performing more than a dozen service projects.

“Honoring the memory of a man whose life work was about making people’s lives better,” said Pam Curtis, U of L’s Director of Student Leadership and Service.

For the students, this was not a day off, but a day giving up their time to help others.

“It was kind of like putting it forward or paying it forward, trying to come out and serve our community, the same way that he did for us," Curtis said.

As the Pride Parade ended with a service at Hughlett Temple AME Zion Church, Burney said King's message is as relevant Monday as it was 50 years ago.

“All he wanted us to do was love each other," he said. "That's all he wanted. That's all he asked for, just love each other."

The day also included hourly screenings of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" at the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville.

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