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(NECN: Kristen Carosa) – Monday wasn’t only inauguration day. It was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
To honor the late civil rights leader, President Obama used Dr. King's bible during his oath of office ceremony.
People in Worcester, Mass. also gathered earlier Monday to pay tribute to Dr. King.
Inspirational music marked a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Worcester. A diverse group of civil rights activists, city leaders and students came together to honor Dr. King's life and legacy.
“We must always believe in equality and in the rights of others who may be different from ourselves but who are equally important in the eyes of God,” said Gail Carberry, president of Quinsigamong Community Colllege.
More than 700 attended the 28th annual breakfast at Quinsigamond Community College.
Dr. Alvin Poussaint said the day is held to mark the achievements and sacrifice of Martin Luther King. He said he led the movement for racial equality and social justice, "which was very significant in bringing black people in the mainstream of America.”
In his keynote speech, Dr. Poussaint spoke about the black consciousness movement of the 1960s. He said the movement instilled pride in millions of African Americans.
“This was a crucial part of America that must be sustained as part of what we are and who we are," he said.
Four scholarships were given out in honor of the late civil rights leader. The students received $1,000 towards their education.
The scholarship committee's Larry Schuyler said that any resident of Worcester and surrounding communities is eligible, regardless of race.
“Dr. King wants his children to be judged in the content of their character not the color of their skin and that is our mission statement. Period," he said.
The scholarships and Monday's celebration are a way to keep Dr. King's legacy alive.
“The day makes another generation more aware that freedom, liberty and equality just don't happen,” said Sen. Harriette Chandler. “You have to work for it and fight for it, it has to mean something to you.”