King honored at Albany celebration

Every American should be part of the civil rights movement and more needs to be done to ensure equal
Lucille McKnight gazes up at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Lincoln Park after marching there from the Empire State Convention Center following a celebration of the holiday honoring the civil rights leader on Monday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Lucille McKnight gazes up at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Lincoln Park after marching there from the Empire State Convention Center following a celebration of the holiday honoring the civil rights leader on Monday.

Every American should be part of the civil rights movement and more needs to be done to ensure equality, the commissioner of the state Division of Human Rights said today at the state’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Day observance.

“Civil rights is about patriotism,” said keynote speaker Kumiki Gibson, adding that King was one of the country’s greatest patriots.

State officials agreed more must be done.

“Today, we celebrate the great leaders and great victories of the past,’ said Gov. Eliot Spitzer. “And as we rejoice about how far we have come, I believe we must also recognize how far we still have to go.”

Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson said studies show 50 percent of African-American black males don’t graduate from high school and that needs to be the push of the next civil rights movement.

The theme of the event, held at the Empire State Plaza, was “A Day on … Not a Day Off” and included music from high school groups, gospel singers, videos of King and readings from his speeches.

Hundreds attended the event, but the crowd was noticeably smaller than past years.

When the program ended, dozens of people marched to Lincoln Park in the bitter cold and laid a wreath at the King memorial.

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