Schools, banks and government offices were closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.â??s birthday.
If King was alive today, the slain civil rights leader would have celebrated his 84th birthday.
Columbiaâ??s MLK Day celebrations started with an honorary Poor People's Breakfast at the St. Luke United Methodist Church. Organizer Almeta Crayton said the breakfast gives people of all races a chance to get to know each other better.
"All the people come in and get together," Crayton said. "They meet new friends. They see old friends. Thatâ??s what dr. King would have wanted us to do. Letâ??s get together. So, thatâ??s what weâ??re doing.â??
Dozens of people remembered Dr. King at Columbiaâ??s MLK Memorial Garden, which is the fourth largest memorial for King in the country. Organizers said this yearâ??s celebration was extra special because it happened 50 years after Kingâ??s â??I have a dreamâ?? speech, 150 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and on the day of the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Mary Ratliff, President of the Missouri Conference of the NAACP, said, â??The dream that he talked about and hoped for, we are seeing some of that right now. His dream has certainly not been realized to its fullest. There are certain aspects of it that we can feel proud to see that some of the prophecy has been fulfilled.â??
After a brief ceremony at the MLK Memorial, the group rode in a motorcade to the Second Missionary Baptist Church in downtown Columbia. The service reflected on the achievements of King and encouraged a brighter future for all Americans.
A candle light walk will take place at 6:30 Monday at Columbiaâ??s Douglass High School.
Immediately following that, an event called â??Passing on the Dreamâ?? is scheduled to start at Columbiaâ??s Second Missionary Baptist Church.
Those honoring King in Columbia Monday said a special prayer for President Obama as he officially entered his second term.