Friday, dignitaries, students and the community filled Mt. Zion for the 40th year of celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday at the 19th and Madison Baptist church.
53 years ago, King visited Zion pastor Reverend Samuel B. McKinney and spoke to thousands in Seattle. McKinney, now near 90, was on hand as usual Friday as newly elected Mayor Ed Murray and a full contingent of SPD brass including newly installed SPD Chief Harry Bailey attended the ceremonies inside the church.
Murray chose a reading from Maya Angelou’s On the Pulse of Morning for his brief statement during the ceremony.
The theme of the 2014 event was “Six Words” and featured NPR’s Michele Norris whose Race Card project collects six-word statements from contributors about race and tolerance. Murray’s six words, by the way, were “history, future, despair, hope, oppression, opportunity.”
King was assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39. He would have been 85 this year.
Capitol Hill-area MLK activities continue through the weekend and into Monday’s official holiday as the annual march and rally starting at Garfield High School will this year also be invigorated by the push for raising the minimum wage in Seattle.