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A birthday celebration fit for a King

January 05, 2004

Gary Moskowitz

A Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at Forest Lawn this weekend will

honor the famed civil rights leader through art, speeches and live

music.

Forest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuaries' second annual Martin

Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration will be at 4 p.m. Sunday in the

Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn

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Drive, Los Angeles.

The event will honor the life, legacy and dream of America's most

revered civil rights leader, said Paula Boger, the event's

coordinator. King would have been 75 this year.

The event is free and open to the public.

"It will be very unique," Boger said. "The whole point is to keep

the dream of excellence and service to mankind alive. There were many

facets to [King's] dream. Not just racial justice, but excellence, no

matter what you do in life, and trying to be the best you can be.

"We want people to leave with the feeling that they are helping

keep [King's] legacy alive," Boger said.

Kendrick "Ice" McDonald, the Mr. Black America Assn.'s 2003

Entertainer of the Year, will perform a dramatic interpretation of

King's vision. Beverly White, a KNBC-TV news reporter, will serve as

emcee for the 90-minute program.

A 78-piece photo exhibit created by Benedict Fernandez called

"Countdown to Eternity" will feature photos of King. Documentary film

footage of King's speeches will also be shown at the event. The photo

exhibit will be kept on display at the Hall of Liberty through

February, which is Black History Month.

Rev. Robert Bock, pastor of the First Christian Church of North

Hollywood, will speak during the celebration, as will D. Marie

Battle, president of League of African American Women. Singer

Henrietta Davis will sing several songs in tribute to King, Boger

said.

Local and area schoolchildren have been invited to attend the

event, Boger said.

"I really think [the celebration] will be amazing to people,"

Boger said.

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