Watch CBS News

Hundreds pack Newark Symphony Hall to honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy

Hundreds pack Newark Symphony Hall to honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy
Hundreds pack Newark Symphony Hall to honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy 02:45

NEWARK, N.J. -- People in our area marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day with services and celebrations.

Landmarks, including the Empire State Building and Mario Cuomo Bridge, were lit red, black and green in tribute to King's life and legacy. 

King would have turned 94 this year. He's remembered as an activist who fought for equality, an issue that still persists. 

"The first thing that we need to do is acknowledge it. And there's a lot of people in this country that still don't believe that this is true," said Newark resident Shawn Wallace. 

"We should remember that each and every day, not just today, but every day. So everyone can aspire to greatness and we can be unified, not just as Black people, but all people," said Newark resident Shirlise McKinley. 

MORE: 700 volunteers beautify Highbridge Green School in South Bronx for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

"No matter what race, creed or color, we need to come together as one," said Newark resident Donna Tucker. 

Hundreds came together at Newark's Symphony Hall to sing, dance and join in prayer. 

It's not just about celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. It's also about remembering who he was. He was an activist and, more than 50 years after he was killed, many say the work he started is far from over. 

"You don't love Martin Luther King. You love the fact that Martin Luther King is not here to pressure you to do something about the conditions that we live in now," said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. 

That pressure was often met with resistance. 

"Just as I say we aren't going to let any dogs or water hoses turn us around, we aren't going to let any injunction turn us around," King said on April 3, 1968. 

There were plenty of people who joined in that fight for equality, including Theodora Smiley Lacey. She was with him during the Montgomery bus boycott and talked about why that was so important. 

"We all live in this world. We breathe the same air. We are human beings and if we learn to appreciate others, it makes us better people," said Lacey. 

In New York, elected leaders highlighted how King's work isn't over .

"Down in Washington, we're gonna continue to lean in to continue our country's long and necessary and majestic march toward a more perfect union," said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. 

"I'm not here because I'm the most enduring and the fastest runner. I am here because people were running the leg long before me, and I need to acknowledge that they were in the race before me and allowed me to be the mayor," said Mayor Eric Adams. 

The theme at that event was defining democracy, which starts with representation. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.