Boston honors Martin Luther King, Jr. with annual breakfast

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Hundreds settled into their seats at the Boston Convention Center today, just hours before the nation’s first black president was to be sworn in for his second term, to honor the civil rights hero that paved the way.

The 43rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast drew activists, clergy, business leaders and elected officials across the state.

Gov. Deval Patrick and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were both in Washington today to attend the presidential inauguration, however they made remarks through pre-recorded videos.

“… It is fitting that these two historic events should intersect,” Gov. Patrick said.  “He imagined this day before many Americans could conceive of blacks and whites drinking from the same fountain.”

Patrick reminisced about being a child and attending a speech by King in Chicago.

“Candidly I can’t remember a word he said, but I do remember what it felt like.  I remember the deep solemnity of the occasion. I remember how at that moment I felt connected to all those other people at that park. People like me of limited means, but limitless hope,” he said.

Warren said she would take “her own silent oath” during President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony.
“To do everything I can to help him… make this country a country that is truly committed to the ideals that Dr. King laid out for us,” Warren said.

The Director of Boston’s Fair Housing Commission, Dion Irish, spoke on behalf of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who was also missing from today’s breakfast.

“True progress is widely shared; that’s what we believe in Boston. That’s what Dr. King  believed; equal opportunities and civil rights. These aren’t just words, they are the foundation of our approach to leading to make sure that Boston is a city that works for all of its people,” Irish said.

Thirteen-year old Miles Easterling, of Quincy, said it was his third time attending the annual breakfast.

“We come to celebrate Dr. King and also to see other friends and have a good time.  I think Governor Patrick gave a good speech,” Easterling said. “He really did have a good reason not to be here.”

Proceeds from today’s breakfast will go toward scholarships and community programs.

Watch a video of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech below:



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