Students honor Dr. King

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The Rev. Lewis Macklin talks about civil-rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks and the second inauguration of President of Barack Obama during a Martin Luther King Jr. program Wednesday at Williamson Elementary School in Youngstown.

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Makayla Mawyena, a student at Williamson Elementary School, in Youngstown listens during a program about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday at the school.

By Denise Dick


Students at Williamson Elementary School put the messages of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in song during a program Wednesday at the school.

“I think he’s the most important person,” said fifth-grader Brooke Little, 10. “He really changed our lives.”

Brooke was master of ceremonies for Wednesday’s program, which paid tribute to the Rev. Dr. King.

Monday is the national holiday in honor of the late civil-rights leader.

Kindergartners through fifth-graders performed songs ranging from “This Little Light” and “Amazing Grace” to “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lean On Me.”

A group of fifth-graders also delivered excerpts from Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington.

“He planned to give a different speech that day,” guest speaker Rev. Lewis Macklin of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church told students.

Singer Mahalia Jackson was among those in the crowd and urged Dr. King to give his now famous address.

“Every one of us has a right to pursue our own dream,” the Rev. Mr. Macklin said.

Besides the national holiday in honor of Dr. King, Monday also marks the day President Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, will be sworn in for his second term.

“There’s nothing that can limit you but you,” Mr. Macklin said.

Though President Obama is the country’s first black president, “We may have another one right here in this room,” Mr. Macklin said.

Fifth-grader Isaiah Ramos, 11, said Dr. King was an important person in history because he “tried to get everything to be fair” and encouraged people not being judged by their race or their skin color.

Clayton Myers, 10, and also in fifth grade, said the civil-rights leader’s “I Have a Dream” speech helped change things.

“‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character ...,’” Clayton said, quoting from the famous address.

Kevin Delgado, 11, a fifth-grader, said Dr. King is significant because he worked to end racism.

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