Hundreds gathered into pews inside Bethlehem Baptist Church for the King service and awaited the braver crowd that marched the route from Miller Chapel on Caldwell Street.
“It was kind of cold, but we did it because of the purpose,” said Newberry College student Kerisha Randolph, who marched with two fellow classmates.
The service was interspersed with songs and choirs and speakers.
Many of the speakers mentioned King’s final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” where King discussed crucial victories he’d seen.
And with President Barack Obama’s inauguration on the heels of Monday’s King celebration, many speakers tied Obama’s election to the momentum King started.
“Now today we stand on the eve of the first African-American person to become President of the United States of America,” said keynote speaker Rev. Larry Hill. “Obama stands on the shoulders of Martin Luther King Jr. and many others...”
In the foyer of Bethlehem Baptist Church, King and Obama were pictured together on a flyer.
Inside the church, 4-year-old Jamiyah Jones carried a laminated poster with the two leaders to the front of the church in a performance by Saint Matthews A.M.E. Zion’s youth choir.
Inside the bulletin, Obama’s picture was centered in the middle of five King pictures.
“(King’s) dream is being fulfilled tomorrow,” said another speaker. “The dream was not in vain.”