Akron's religious and community leaders came together with a single message: The Dream is worth pursuing, no matter the cost.
Jim Carney spoke with Dr. Ronald J. Fowler, retired pastor of the Arlington Church of God, who was a young theologian when Dr. King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. He says was forever influenced by the vision of hope, and was most impressed by the Reverend's letter sent from a Birmingham jail.
Cazelle Smith organized Akron's first MLK observation 36 years ago. He stresses the importance of sharing our collective histories with young people who never had to endure Jim Crow laws.
Recently retired local NAACP president Ophelia Averitt remembers her own mother marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and credits that experience for her strong sense of justice.
Has The Dream been realized? Rev. Carl Wallace of Trinity United Church of Christ says not yet, but he says people should keep pressing on, and should keep hope alive.
The University of Akron is marking Martin Luther King Day with an activities fair.
"We have about forty organizations representing the community and campus who will be there with various activities promoting social justice, tolerance and the overall principles and tenets that Dr. King stood for," said Fedearia Nicholson, director of the university's Office of Multicultural Development.
Nicholson says many younger people don't understand the importance of Dr. King in the civil rights movement or the fact that African Americans had far fewer rights just forty years ago.
That doesn't mean, however, that country has forgotten King's message.
"I absolutely think that we have made great strides," said Nicholson. "I don't think that we have arrived. I don't think that Dr. King's dream has been fully realized, but I think that we have tremendous progress."
The activities fair is being held from 11:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m.