Columbus, Phenix City honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus, Phenix City honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Unity Breakfast

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and guest speaker Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League (Source: Facebook) Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and guest speaker Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League (Source: Facebook)
More than 1100 dignitaries, politicians, educators and business leaders were on hand for the  26th Annual Unity Award Breakfast  at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center. More than 1100 dignitaries, politicians, educators and business leaders were on hand for the 26th Annual Unity Award Breakfast at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.

Forty years after his death, the nation pauses to remember the life and legacy of Dr. King.

Hundreds gathered in downtown Columbus for an early Monday morning breakfast and award ceremony in honor of the legacy of Dr. King.  

More than 1100 dignitaries, politicians, educators and business leaders packed a ballroom  for the 26th Annual Unity Award Breakfast at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center. 

King would have turned 83 years old on his birthday this year.

For 26 years now, the men of Alpha Phi Alpha in Columbus have honored Dr. King's accomplishments with a breakfast and naming the recipient of the prestigious "Unity Award."  The winner's remains a top secret until the person name is revealed from a sealed envelope, surprising the winner as well.   This year's award went to Columbus Mayor Pro Tem, Evelyn Turner Pugh. 

Overwhelmed with emotion, Pugh, told the crowd, despite the disabilities she suffers from Parkinson's disease, she's committed to being an example for young people.

This year's guest speaker was Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans, LA.  The theme of his speech:  "Keeping the Dream Alive: Empowering People Through Economic Development."

 Morial enlightening speech took everyone on a trip down memory lane to 1963 when King was jailed in Albany, Georgia.  Morial read excerpts from a letter he said King pinned while behind bars.  He described the jail infested with ants and roaches.

Then, he recounted the challenges Dr. King endured in Birmingham, Alabama as a ruthless opponent unleashed guard dogs on marchers.

In closing, he stated, Dr. King, would be pleased and disappointed if he could see the world today, "Pleased to look at the White House, see the President and the Department of Justice and see the Attorney General…see how far we've come in these 40 years, see those in corporate America. He would be pleased to see that, but shocked by the violence. He would be shocked economic divide. Overall, he's say we've come a long way, but the battle is not won, yet."

Proceeds from the event help to send local high school seniors to college. More than $180,000 in scholarships has been awarded since the fundraiser started. 

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly