The Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday celebrations for 2001

The Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday celebrations for 2001 had the usual pomp and pageantry, reflections and marches took place in all the major cities and counties across the United States.

Rev. Bernice King, youngest daughter of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., addressed Ohio State University students, faculty and staff at the 29th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday at the Ohio Union BallrooMs. "This event will be an introduction to other events of this nature," said Larry Williamson, director of the Hale Black Cultural Center. "We would like to increase collaborative efforts between the city and the university since we're both working toward increasing diversity within our programs."

In Houston, one of the venues for the highest turnout in honor of Dr. King, the marches and educational events were well attended. Significantly, the Black Heritage Society held a gala at the George Brown center with Florida attorney Willie Gary as guest of honor. According to the Black Heritage Society Founder and civil rights activist Ovide Duncatell "we've the backing and authorization of the King family. This year we're are reconnecting to our motherland, Africa. Dr. King would have been very happy." Program advisor for the MLK 2001 George Dillard told "Africa was very important to Dr, King, ad we'll keep the tradition. About a year ago, i visited the continent and I was blessed by the trip."

Some of the guest include TV host of the award-winning Debra Duncan Show, Minister Robert Muhammad who said the prayer of unification, attorney Mark T. McDonald, business exec Harlon Brooks, Mrs. Cleo Glenn-Johnson. The USAfrica Heritage Notes, titled "Our Shared Heritage and Interests into 21st century" was presented as part of the welcome address by Chido Nwangwu Founder & Publisher of and The Black Business Journal newspaper.

The "I Have A Dream" tribute was delivered by Tiffany Calhoun, and songs/piano renditions Jane Anosike, Roland Carter, Phil Anosike Sr., Diana "DJ" Johnson, Shauna "Nikki" Sweat, Edith Jones and Tabatha C. Witten. A video tribute was made in honor of South Africa's former president Dr. Nelson Mandela.

In Chicago, Professor of religious, social and urban studies at DePaul University, Michael Eric Dyson captivated his audience during the King celebration. With Biblical references, hip-hop lyrics and inspirational words tumbling out of his mouth at lightning speed.

"He was hated on in a major way," Dyson said. "He was aiming straight at the heart of white supremacy. But he did so with love — he loved white folk so much he was willing to embrace them as brothers and sisters. Martin Luther King said we have to overcome with the fortitude of African culture. He was about integrating into the larger circle of American privilege."

USAfricaonline with agency and wire reports