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Published: Monday, 1/18/2010

Nearly 3,000 at Toledo event honor King

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Nearly 3,000 people gathered Monday morning for the University of Toledo's annual tribute to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

King, who advocated peaceful resistance and equality, was assassinated April 4, 1968.

Toledoans joined others nationwide in honoring the black leader with celebrations, programs, and services.

Among the speakers was Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, who asked for help in seeing the city through its difficult financial time.

"The time for us not working together is over," Mr. Bell said. "We are prepared to work in unity."

UT President Lloyd Jacobs praised Mr. Bell and recognized him as a "symbol of the impact of African Americans" in the United States.

Mr. Bell is the second black mayor elected in Toledo.

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) , and dozens of local political and religious leaders also attended.

The ceremony included stirring songs by the Toledo Interfaith Mass Choir and a video tribute to King, produced by Keyser William Lucas.

The short film was a collection of King's speeches and interviews, as well as an excerpt from President Barack Obama's Nov. 4, 2008 acceptance speech in Chicago.

The university's program, which included a 20-minute processional of community leaders and organizations, ended with a community luncheon.



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