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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dedication Honors the Works Martin Luther King Jr.

"A boulevard fit for a King"

By Sandy Meindersma CORRESPONDENT

WORCESTER— City Hall’s foyer echoed with the sounds of a gospel choir at the beginning of yesterday’s commitment march and dedication ceremony for the newly named Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Central Street was renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard effective July 1, 2008, after a June 2007 vote by the City Council to change the street’s name.

In celebration of the newly named street, a crowd of nearly 300, including members of five black churches, gathered at City Hall before marching down Main Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for the dedication ceremony at the DCU Center.

Stacy DeBoise Luster, human resource manager for the Worcester public schools, welcomed the crowd to City Hall, declaring that the Knights of Zion “had awakened the gospel in all of our souls.”

“This is where all the black leadership is,” Mrs. Luster said. “It’s in our churches, our pastors, our leaders and our choirs. It’s all of you.”

Following a welcome address from Mayor Konstantina B. Lukes, the crowd, led by the Worcester Combined Church Choir, marched the six blocks down Main Street to the renamed boulevard and gathered at the DCU Center for the dedication ceremony.

At the DCU Center, state Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester, called the day “one to honor the memory of a man who is an icon in American history.

I’m delighted to see this black community so united,” Mrs. Chandler said. “But this is not just a one-day event. To honor Dr. King’s legacy, you must stay united.”

The keynote speaker, state Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston, called on the audience to honor Dr. King with their own lives.

“We are gathered here to commemorate Martin Luther King,” Mr. Rushing said. “But not just one man, but a whole race, a whole movement. We honor all who by faith have been true to what they know is right.”

“To be faithful to the name of this street,” Mr. Rushing said, “we must ask the question: Can we commemorate ourselves in this legacy — where do we fit?

“If Martin Luther King were alive today, he would be working for decent jobs at decent salaries, for unions and for the poor and working people. He would still say that nonviolence is an effective strategy.

“As we reflect on his life, these words and why we named this boulevard, work for justice, freedom and peace and to end oppression,” he said.

Courtesy of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette

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