Gov. Ernie Fletcher joined Kentucky State University officials and others Monday in singing "We Shall Overcome" to celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
A commemoration convocation titled "Renewing the Dream" was held in the Carl M. Hill Student Center ballroom on campus, with Fletcher as keynote speaker. The program followed a commemorative march.
A procession filed in the room, which left some standing during the program. The room houses the Civil Rights Hall of Fame sculpture, which displays photographs of the 52 state civil rights leaders who have been inducted.
Dr. Bill Turner, KSU's interim president, introduced Fletcher, telling the governor, who is also a minister, that he wanted to "hear the pastor in him."
Fletcher recalled traveling in the South as a child and seeing the signs on water fountains and restrooms that read "whites only."
"Dr. King's dream still longs for the fullness of freedom," Fletcher said, explaining that ignorance, intolerance and poverty still prevent fulfillment of the dream.
"Dr. King's hope was for no one to be left behind and higher education is a critical ingredient to that," Fletcher said. "KSU lights the path to Dr. King's dream and is a source of untapped potential."
The governor talked about the challenge of the current budget situation and education cuts.
"(King) was a man with courage and passion that could dream beyond the troubles that faced him," he said. "He used his faith to inspire and instill hope."
The governor cited an excerpt from King's "Birth of a Nation" sermon.
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