MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - An annual event honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a little different this year.
Dr. King was a pastor at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. Every year, there’s a church service and celebration in his honor. But in addition to King’s 90th birthday celebration, Montgomery leaders unveiled a bronze bust of the civil rights icon.
King’s famous “I have a Dream” speech played as hundreds of people filled the pews of the church to see the unveiling. The city’s original plan was to have a life-sized statue of Dr. King, but Mayor Todd Strange said in December that there were some conflicts over the artistic style. They still plan to have a full statue at a later date.
The speaker at the celebration was Dr. James E. Shannon, a man who was baptized by King.
"Dr. King made the scriptures come alive,” he said. “And he preached all that racism and misinterpretation of scriptures we had had by so many people in the south."
Montgomery County Commission Chairman Dan Harris and former State Rep. John Knight were also at the event and spoke about the impact King had.
"We can never forget what Dr. King has done for all of us,” Harris said. “The civil rights movement started right here in Montgomery."
“We must continue the legacy of Dr. King,” said Knight. “Bringing the communities together, bringing the races, all races, together, and building a better Montgomery and a better country.”
Not only was King a pastor at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, but it’s also where he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott, in the church’s basement.