MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Parades and events were held in communities across south and central Alabama on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
People gathered at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in downtown Montgomery Monday afternoon for the World Heritage Museum's 40th annual birthday celebration in honor of King. Hundreds attended the service.
King served as pastor at the church in the 1950's when he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell, a Selma native, addressed the crowd on the fight King led on voting rights in her hometown.
"And I can tell you those marchers marched across that bridge for an injustice and that injustice has not been fully vindicated we are not there yet. Their fight is now our fight," Sewell said.
Sewell spoke about the significance of being in the church on this day.
"To be here at this holy place this historic church on Martin Luther King Junior's birthday is such an honor it is such an honor I hope all of us take a deep breath and just inhale and exhale how luck we are luck to be celebrating this day in this place," Sewell said.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade wasn't held in Montgomery this year. Organizers agreed to cancel it because of Monday's inauguration events.
Locals and visitors also marked Monday's holiday with a visit to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Civil Rights Memorial in downtown Montgomery. The memorial honors those who lost their lives in the civil rights movement. The Civil Rights Memorial itself is outdoors and open 24-7. The memorial center, which includes exhibits, is open during business hours Monday through Saturday.
King was honored Monday morning with a parade in Prattville. Hundreds of people lined the streets to see the floats, horses and more downtown. The parade ended at First Missionary Baptist Church where a service was held.
Hundreds also gathered at Greater Beulah Baptist Church in Dothan to celebrate King's life and legacy.
The day started with a breakfast at North Highland Baptist Church followed by a march down Montgomery Highway to greater Beulah Baptist Church bringing together people of all ages. Unity and moving forward were the focal points of the festivities. While many believe King would be proud of what strides have been made they say their is a long road ahead and it's important for the next generation to be part of Monday's celebrations so they can grasp hold of King's dream.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 86 this past Thursday.