Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Honored In NYC, Across Country

January 21, 2019 - 4:31 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The Tri-State and nation are honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. days after he would have turned 90 years old. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Chuck Schumer, attended the annual MLK Day celebration at the National Action Network’s House of Justice in Harlem.

Prominent Democrats, including Gillibrand, spoke at the event and said MLK fought for rights that are now being eroded under the Trump administration, WCBS 880's Mack Rosenberg reported.

"Our president has chosen to tear this country apart," Gillibrand said.

New York City's first lady, Chirlane McCray, was at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's 33rd annual tribute to King.


A peace walk took place in the frigid cold on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island.

And hundreds gathered for a ceremony at Long Beach City Hall before walking along the route King traveled during his 1965 civil rights visit to Long Island.

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy attended a celebration at the New Hope Memorial Baptist Church in Elizabeth.

The holiday is a day of service for the Food Bank of New York City.

President and CEO Margarette Purvis told WCBS 880 the organization is reaching out to New Yorkers in need, including federal workers furloughed during the shutdown.

“We got a direct reach-out from the Coast Guard, so we’ve got products that will be going to Staten Island,” Purvis said.  

Former Vice President Joe Biden and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg paid tribute to King at a breakfast in Washington hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton earlier in the day. Biden said the future looks bright. 

“Over 60 percent of this millennial generation believe that increasing -- not accepting, increasing -- diversity is good for them and good for America,” Biden said. “That has never, ever happened in any polling in American history.”

President Donald Trump paid a visit to the memorial honoring King in Washington.

Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who accompanied Trump in laying a wreath at the foot of the memorial statue.

The president told reporters it was a “great day” and a “beautiful day.”

Former President Barack Obama said he has "always drawn inspiration from what Dr. King called life’s most persistent and urgent question: 'What are you doing for others?'"

In Atlanta, hundreds braved the elements to pay homage to the father of the modern-day civil rights movement at a church called King's “spiritual home.”

King's daughter, Rev. Bernice King, said in her remarks that the annual service at Ebenezer Baptist Church came during a moment of crisis in America, while condemning gridlock and partisanship in Washington that led to the shutdown.

"Our humanity is literally on the verge of digressing to two Americas and becoming the dis-United State of America," she said.

King also slammed what she called "the powerful resurgence of nationalistic and white supremacist ideologies" around the world.