- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2004

ATLANTA (AP) — Martin Luther King’s widow called yesterday for an end to acrimony in politics as Americans paused to remember the slain civil rights leader.

Coretta Scott King talked last year about avoiding war in Iraq, and her plea for nonviolence returned this year. “Peaceful ends can only be reached through peaceful means,” she said in her annual Martin Luther King Day address.

But this year, with the presidential contest looming, Mrs. King also talked about peace at home.

“The noblest goal is not conquest of enemies, but reconciliation with adversaries. We must remember in this election year that Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, we are all sisters and brothers,” said Mrs. King, speaking at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached until his assassination in 1968.

Mrs. King’s message was conciliatory, but others nationwide sprinkled pro-peace words with barbs at President Bush.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, at the same service, received a hearty standing ovation when she referred to the protest last week of the president’s visit to King’s tomb. About 800 protesters said Mr. Bush shouldn’t have come because of his policies on the Iraq war, affirmative action and social-service funding.

Referring to Mr. Bush, the mayor said, “Perhaps some prefer to honor the dreamer while ignoring or fighting the dream.”

Martin Luther King III, soon to take the helm of the King Center, said Mr. Bush’s policies will not lead to a safer world. “It’s very sad that we’re engaged in war today,” he said.

“We have to be concerned not just about us. We have to be concerned about all our brothers and sisters throughout our nation and world. How many Iraqi children have been killed? When will the war end? We all have to be concerned about terrorism, but you will never end terrorism by terrorizing others,” he said.

In Tallahassee, Fla., about a dozen students walked out yesterday before Gov. Jeb Bush, the president’s brother, spoke at historically black Florida A&M; University. In a statement, the students criticized his views on affirmative action, among other things.

The governor said the students have every right to express their views. He also said Florida A&M;’s success “could not have occurred without the struggles that Dr. King and many others a generation ago undertook.”

The daylong celebrations of Martin Luther King Day included memorials, church services and volunteer projects nationwide. Organizers of holiday events have long emphasized the importance of community service, exhorting citizens to “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On. … Not a Day Off.”

In Dallas, hundreds of spectators cheered and clapped as floats and marching bands paraded through city streets.

“The struggle is not over,” said parade organizer Daryl Blair. “That’s just not for blacks; that’s for whites alike.”


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