Even as they celebrated the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the students of Lord Dufferin Public School couldn’t help alluding to another charismatic black man, U.S. president-elect Barack Obama.

Obama’s inauguration, scheduled to unfold in Washington this morning, is a clear sign that “(King’s) dream has been fulfilled,” eighth-grader Daliya Aktar said yesterday morning at the Cabbagetown school’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day assembly.

Principal Gary Crossdale agreed. “As we stand here on the eve of the inauguration of a black president, I thank Dr. King,” he said.

More than 100 students sat cross-legged on the gym floor, watching as speakers — including their peers — evoked the teachings of the civil rights leader and his influence on the world today.

At the back, about a dozen students hoisted colourful, homemade signs that read: “Stop the racism” and “Equality for all.”

Though officially an American holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is “very significant because we have a very diverse community,” Crossdale said.

“The students see Martin Luther King Jr. as a hero,” he said, noting Canada doesn’t have any comparable black heroes to call its own.

The presidential inauguration was a recurrent theme in the presentation.

Thanks to King, Obama “grew up and got to see a different country,” one in which he could be president, U.S. Consul General John Nay told the students.

“I think Martin Luther King Jr. did expect to see a black president, but nobody knew when it would happen.”

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