LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Annual celebrations marking the birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. have begun in Jones County.
The MLK Community Development Corporation hosted an opening ceremony at Laurel High School Friday morning. Passages from King's and President Obama's speeches were presented.
And Mississippi Power Company manager Rex Gilbert gave the keynote address.
"I think it's important to us to know that he fought and died so that we could have what we have today," said Victor Harris, a senior at Laurel High School. "It's kind of an inspiration and it helps build us up."
"(King) focused a lot on bettering the world for us, not just himself," said Quinshay Page, another senior at Laurel High School. "This is an important time of the year that I think everybody should celebrate."
The organization will host a "Battle of the Bands" Saturday at 1 p.m. at Laurel High School.
Next Saturday, it will host a scholarship banquet. On Sunday, Jan. 17, a memorial service will be held and on Monday, Jan. 18, events will conclude with a breakfast at the Laurel Train Depot.