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Obama Honors Martin Luther King Jr


President Barack Obama helps to paint cartoon characters in a lunchroom as he observes the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, 17 Jan 2011

President Barack Obama helps to paint cartoon characters in a lunchroom as he observes the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, 17 Jan 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama has honored slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. by taking part in a service project at a local school.

Mr. Obama, his wife Michelle and their two children participated in a painting project Monday, the federal holiday that honors King. Members of the president's Cabinet are attending memorial events and taking part in community service projects across the nation.

At the school, President Obama said King's dream was for equality and justice, as well as service to the country.

The King Center in Atlanta caps more than a week of events Monday with commemorative ceremonies, volunteer activities and community programs.

King, who was African American, was a Baptist preacher who fought discrimination and racism in the 1950s and 1960s, mainly in the southern United States, where blacks were subjected to unequal treatment in society and at times the target of brutal violence.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 39 years old.

King gained prominence after leading a successful protest against segregation on the buses in Montgomery, Alabama. Under that system, blacks were required to sit in the back of the bus and, if the vehicle was full, they had to give their seats to white people.

The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 made segregation illegal. King, an advocate for non-violent protests, won the Nobel Peace Prize the same year.

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