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Speaker at MLK event: Civil Rights Movement involved ‘thousands of others’

Madame Walker Legacy Center celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It goes without saying that Martin Luther King Jr. played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement, but so many more were involved.

That message came during the holiday event Monday inside the Madam Walker Legacy Center. As people reflected on the civil rights leader’s legacy, single-digit temperatures challenged people outside the building.

Ann Marie Byers said, “For us to brave the cold is nothing for what Dr. King strived for by giving his entire life.”

Matthew Thompson said, “A day like today, you just want to make sure that you know showing love, giving love, and knowing the true meaning of love, and I think Dr. King was love.”

Both people who attended the center’s event say they want to continue King’s message of equality, justice and love.

The center’s event was the 42nd annual MLK Day of Celebration at the Madam Walker Legacy Center to celebrate his life.

Karen Kersey said, “I’m a baby boomer and so I remember seeing him marching for the freedom of others and hoping that his children could be treated equally and so myself hoping my children and grandchildren can be treated equally.”

Carolene Mays was the moderator. She’s the creator and host of “Community Link” on WISH-TV and the president of the leadership cohort Black Leadership + Legacies Inc.

News 8 reporter Brittany Noble served as emcee.

Journalist and political commentator Roland Martin, host of “Roland Martin Unfiltered,” was the guest speaker. He says there needs to be calls for action. “We must remind that King was a radical figure who was one of the most hated men in America when he was assassinated, so we need to remind folks of that King.”

Martin also says the holiday is more than just a celebration. “One of the mistakes that we make is that we only focus on him. We don’t focus on the thousands of others who were involved in this movement. There were countless men and women and names we don’t talk about, things we don’t know who played a vital role.”

Kristian Stricklen, the president of the Madam Walker Legacy Theater, said, “We need to continue to push forward and educate ourselves and our community and our next generation until we get there.”