Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow and others observing Monday's federal holiday marking the civil rights leader's birthday remembered him as an advocate of non-violence and urged an immediate halt to the Persian Gulf war.
"Our most urgent short-term priority at the international level is a cease-fire in the Persian Gulf," Coretta Scott King said in her annual State of the Dream speech Sunday at Ebenezer Baptist Church.In Texas, Girl Scouts in a Dallas parade honoring King on Saturday carried a 10-foot-long banner saying, "King's dream did not include war."
Monday's holiday winds up 10 days of celebrations marking King's birthday. Assassinated in 1968, the civil rights leader would have turned 62 on Jan. 15. The federal holiday is observed on the third Monday of January.
Planned to highlight the holiday in Atlanta on Monday were the 22nd annual ecumenical service at Ebenezer, where King and his father were co-pastors, and a national parade and march of celebration up Peachtree Street.
A rally honoring King was scheduled Monday in Helena, Mont. Montana, Arizona and New Hampshire are the only states where his birthday still isn't a paid state holiday.
The federal holiday brought racists to the streets in Blacksburg, Va., and Albany, N.Y., on Sunday, but they were greatly outnumbered by civil rights advocates.