King’s Son Seeks $10-Billion Economic Boost for Blacks
As the nation remembered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Dexter Scott King vowed to continue his father’s work through economic opportunity, calling for a $10-billion investment in the black community.
“My father had a dream; I too have a dream,” the 33-year-old said in a Martin Luther King Day address at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was pastor. “My father delivered to his generation political freedom. I would like to deliver to my generation economic freedom.”
More than 400 people packed the church, next door to the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the crypt that holds the body of the civil rights leader, who would have been 66 on Sunday.
Dignitaries from around the world, including House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) and South African Ambassador Franklyn Sonn, attended the three-hour service.
A weeping former Mayor Andrew Young, once an aide to King, said the civil rights leader’s dream of a nation undivided lives on with those still striving for unity.
“Martin knew that this wasn’t a one-generational struggle,” he said. “He knew he would not make it to the end, so it was very important that he have a family that could carry on.”
Earlier, King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and three of their children placed a wreath in front of the tomb as the youngest child, the Rev. Bernice King, offered a prayer.
In Memphis, Tenn., meanwhile, up to 700 marchers walked through downtown and stopped at the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum, where King was assassinated by a sniper on April 4, 1968.
In Dallas, King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, said he hesitates to call the holiday a day of celebration.
“Somehow, we perhaps have gotten caught in a holding pattern and many of us think that we are free,” King, 36, told the crowd of about 1,000 at a breakfast. He said America’s social ills, including drug abuse and urban blight, demonstrate that “we have not arrived, so we cannot celebrate yet.”
In Boston, about 2,000 people attended a breakfast in King’s honor.
In New Hampshire, the only state that has not fully adopted the federal King holiday, about 25 teen-agers staked out the sidewalk at the Statehouse in Concord in a vigil scheduled to last from midnight Sunday to midnight Monday.