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Martin Luther King Day observed with service, march, bell ringing

Participants in a symbolic march on Martin Luther King Day Monday head to the West Virginia Capitol. (WCHS/WVAH)

The life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated Monday with an annual celebration at a church, a symbolic march and a bell ringing at the West Virginia Capitol.

A service was held 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, 501 Elizabeth St., in Charleston, according to a news release from organizers.

Michelle Foster, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, was the keynote speaker.

Following the service, a symbolic march headed from the church to the north steps of the Capitol steps for a symbolic bell ringing.

A reception was scheduled to follow at the West Virginia Culture Center.

Organizers said all events were free and open to the public. This year’s theme was: “Unity has never meant uniformity.”

The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission also will be honoring the following:

* Attorney Elliot Hicks, the Governor’s Living the Dream Award

* Dr. Jerome Gilbert, Scholarship Award

* Health Science and Technology Academy, Living the Dream Service Organization Honor Roll Award

* Thanks! Plain and Simple Inc., Living the Dream Service Organization Honor Roll Award

* The Rev. Micah Blanks, Sharing of Self Award.

Meanwhile, the Boyd and Greenup counties branch of the NAACP hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the Ashland Transportation Center in Kentucky.

The event has been honoring King's legacy for nearly 30 years. It featured gospel singing and the keynote speaker, the Rev. Stanley McDonald.

Following the ceremony, a freedom march was held from the Transportation Center to the First Presbyterian Church.

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