People hold hands as they sing “We Shall Overcome” at the close of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. service at Central United Methodist Church in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, Robin Buckson)
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Worshippers at a Detroit church Sunday were among people around Michigan honoring the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 50th anniversary of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
“A lot of younger folks don’t know what’s happened in the past,” Charles Wilson, 83, told congregants at Detroit’s Central United Methodist Church.
Wilson said it’s important that young people learn what older generations went through in the struggle for civil rights.
“They don’t know what times we’ve been through,” The Detroit News quoted him as saying.
Some of the children at Central United Methodist’s service displayed significant knowledge and respect of King.
“I know he fought to end separation between the different colors,” said Britney, 12. “I know that when he was a kid, he studied really hard in school. He graduated from high school when he was 15. … He could be a role model for anyone.”
Michigan State University’s College of Music was hosting two free concerts Sunday honoring King at the Wharton Center in East Lansing. The concerts featured pop, soul and gospel hits from the 1960s and 1970s.
A day of service honoring King’s birthday Monday was sponsored by the Detroit Public Schools. The district said community members can volunteer to participate in two- to three-hour-long projects Monday morning at more than a dozen Detroit public schools. The projects include school beautification.
The Thomas Cooley Law School is also hosting an event Monday at the Auburn Hills campus. The school’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day program kicks off with a 9 a.m. breakfast and a nondenominational prayer service at 9:30 a.m. The prayer service will be followed by a panel discussion titled “Civil Rights Challenges Facing Individuals in their Communities.”
People can also take part in community service work at Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac and the Detroit City Rescue Mission later in the day.
Detroit Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda is celebrating Mass at 10 a.m. Monday at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit to honor King.