MLK Breakfast Celebration in Orono

ORONO, ME (WABI) - Folks gathering in Orono to remember the great civil right's leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.

Monday marks his 89th birthday.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

The annual breakfast at the University of Maine featured a state representative who focused on the five decades since Dr. King's death- specifically what has changed and what still needs to be fixed.

Joy Hollowell reports.
More than 300 people came to the university of maine to celebrate the life and the continuing legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.

Maine state representative Craig Hickman was the keynote speaker at the annual celebration breakfast.

"The good people of Winthrop and Readfield, two predominantly white and conservative, rural towns in central Maine, elected me, a black man from away, to represent them in the Maine House," Hickman told the crowd gathered at the breakfast. "Not once, not twice but three times."

Hickman related his own experiences including an incident back in the early 90s, as he walked into an art museum to discuss poetry.

"Toting a big, black bag, inconspicuously clad in every day attire, I nevertheless was singled out by the security officer," Hickman related, followed by a collective groan from the audience.

In addition to serving in the state legislature, Hickman is an organic farmer in Winthrop. He connects freedom to food, calling it a right and a responsibility of life.

"When I first made our community aware that free food was available at our farm 24-7, I heard all sorts of caveats and concerns. 'But what if somebody takes all that fresh food from your farm stand and then goes out and sells it?'" he explained. "Where in the love in that question?"

Reflecting on 50 years after dr. king's assassination, Hickman compared the current state of our country to a crossroads.

"I stand here living proof that we have come a long way," he said. "Let us never forget nor disremember the events and realities that show us we still have a long way to go."