MLK Holiday celebrated across Central Alabama - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

MLK Holiday celebrated across Central Alabama

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A number of events around North Central Alabama recognized the federal Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

The 28th annual "King Unity Breakfast" at Boutwell Auditorium drew thousands of people. The theme was "Birmingham Unity: embracing liberty and justice for all."

More than 150 children in Birmingham got free shoes on Monday and a whole lot more. Volunteers from all over the area washed the kids' feet and fitted them with new shoes. A group called "Samaritan's Feet" out of Charlotte, North Carolina led the effort.

Frank Adams Jr. with the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club says Monday's small acts of kindness will send a big message to these kids.

"To minister to our kids by providing them with a new pair of shoes, but also getting them to understand service means humility and humbling yourself. If you want to be a leader in the community, you're going to have to serve first," said Adams.

"Birmingham is a city of service. We have people here that care. We have citizens that want to give back and we're doing that here at A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club," said Jay Roberson from the Birmingham City Council.

Samaritans Feet was founded by a man from Nigeria who got a pair of shoes from a missionary. The group planned to distribute 3,700 shoes across the country on the MLK holiday.

The Freedom Riders Museum, in Montgomery, also recognized Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday. The museum, which honors the history of the Freedom Riders, allowed visitors in for just a dollar. Some of those who grew up during that racial tension used the day to teach children about the past and how far the country has come.

"It makes me feel happy that they can have friends, you know, of any color, and that they have the opportunity to do that: to sit beside kids in their class and to have them over to our house and not to feel shamed about who they want to be friends with," said Kristi Rolliins.

The museum is usually open only on Fridays and Saturdays.

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