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OBAMA-THON to Celebrate Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
By Jennifer Bihm (Contributing Writer)
Published April 3, 2008

Sentinel, KDAY to Host Event In Honor of Presidential Civil Rights Icon

The Los Angeles Sentinel in partnership with KDAY will broadcast live in front of Sentinel headquarters Friday April 4, for “Obamathon” 2008, commemorating the life and the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and raising funds for presidential nominee Barack Obama’s campaign.

“Obama’s campaign is the perfect vehicle to pay tribute to Dr. King. It’s a grass roots campaign that represents everything King stood for,” said Sentinel Publisher Danny Bakewell Jr., who also named the New Frontier Democratic Club, The Ron Brown Democratic Club and others as partners in the event.

“We are encouraging people to come out and donate. They can give 40 cents, $40 or $4000 it doesn’t matter. What matters is everyone participating in the process.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been a significant figure in the American Civil Rights movement before he was gunned down April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. As a Baptist Minister his advocacy for equal rights became widely known with the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 and then later with the March on Washington where he delivered “I Have a Dream,” one of the most famous speeches in the world. King had been in Memphis to lead a march for black sanitation workers who were being treated unfairly on the job. The day before he was killed, he delivered the also famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to a small crowd ominously stating, “I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land. I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”

“Obama, like King, is bringing together people of all races who are interested in real change,” said NAACP national board member Willis Edwards.

“He is sincere, honest and dedicated to making those changes, that are best for all of us. Obama is the new leadership.”

The Illinois Senator is said to have “established a tone in America of hope, inspiration and change” when he announced his presidential candidacy in 2007.

Citizens have described him representative of the American Dream, “ an intelligent graduate of the prestigious Harvard and a devout family man with values that transcend race, gender and religion.”

Obama’s latest campaign speech addressing race has been increasingly compared to King’s I Have a Dream.

“Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own,” he said at a March press conference after being pushed to answer for his affiliation with Reverend Jeremiah Wright who lambasted America’s foreign policies and domestic racism after September 11.

“But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.”

Obama is currently the only African American in the Senate.


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