SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- (04/04/2018) The legacy that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left behind was celebrated across the nation including in Springfield as local residents from across the community came together to honor the man who had a dream.
Fifty-years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated outside of a motel in Memphis. However, today the civil rights leader's message still rings true. Known as the man who changed the conversation of race, King Spent his short 39 years fighting for racial equality and believing for a world where color was not seen.
"He was a man before his time. He was a forerunner and he saw the future in a different way where we could all get along and all be, to sum it up, all be together in humanity," said Christine Peoples, one of the organizers of the Springfield event put together to honor King.
Today Springfield residents joined in on remembering King's legacy, celebrating him through art, speeches and music and bringing to light the power of unity.
"Unfortunately things haven't changed a whole lot, but the hope that we have is that when we all come together, and we can make a difference when we all come together, and that is evident today," said Peoples.
King's final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?, was the theme of the event. It highlighted the importance of the change that can happen when communities come together.
"Coming together to have the same mindset and then moving forward in your individual ways," said Peoples. "Coming together, it works, it works."
Despite Dr. King's short life, the change that he began in communities over 50 years ago still lives on, however the work of fulfilling his dream continues.
Events honoring the late reverend will be held at various times during the year throughout Springfield with the hopes of bringing the community together. A Youth Empowerment Day will be held in the summer to demonstrate leadership among youth through service, education and celebration. The event will include the planting of pecan trees to honor Dr. King, as pecan pie was his favorite food.
Another event will be hosted in the fall entitled 'Been to the Mountaintop Interfaith Service' where attendees will hear from several keynote speakers as they frame their message through current day interpretations of Dr. King's final speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop." Dates for both events have yet to be announced.