Hundreds honor MLK at St. Louis' Old Courthouse

Monday, January 20, 2014 | 5:50 p.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — Hundreds honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s fight for equality Monday during a ceremony at the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, the same building where slaves waged a legal battle for freedom more than 160 years ago.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that speakers cited progress, but said disparities in education, jobs and poverty based on race still remain.

"Let's establish a new norm," St. Louis Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed said. "Let's act differently, think differently. Say, 'no, this is not acceptable.'"

Many speakers cited the need to create more jobs. State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat, said workers need to be treated better.

"Minimum wage is too damned low," Nasheed said.

King set the stage, she said, but it's up to others to remain vigilant.

"Dr. King expects us to fight the good fight. We must continue the struggle," Nasheed said.

Donovan Sims, 8, and his brother, Knowledge, 6, listened to the speeches under the watchful eye of their grandmother, Michelle Wren.

"I was 13 when (King) died, and I didn't appreciate what he had done until I was much older," said Wren, 59. "I wanted them to be here to know about his life."

The crowd in the rotunda at the historic building was among the largest in several years, spilling out onto Market Street. After hearing speeches, the crowd marched through downtown to an interfaith service at Powell Hall.

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