Atlanta celebrates legacy of Dr. King

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ATLANTA, Ga. - Political, community and faith leaders gathered to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on what would have been the civil rights icon's 85th birthday.

Atlanta supporters will join the nation as it pauses to remember King with parades, marches and service projects.

Channel 2 Action News reporters are spread out across metro Atlanta covering the observances.

 The Rev. Raphael Warnock delivered the keynote address during a commemorative Martin Luther King Jr. Day service at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Channel 2's Sophia Choi reported long lines outside the church early Monday morning and visitors from around the world.

"We drove from Texas for this event. It's important to us so we can actually dedicate some time for what he's done for our society," Andretta Ojo said.

 King, a civil rights icon and Atlanta native, once preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church and past events have included Dr. Cornel West, former Atlanta mayor, congressman and United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, former president Bill Clinton and Archbishop Desmond Tutu as speakers.

Volunteers marked the day of service in a variety of ways across metro Atlanta.

Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless has marked the King holiday by serving meals and offering free services for more than a decade.

Doors opened at the Georgia International Convention Center at 10 a.m. where volunteers served a hot meal, barber and beauty care, medical services and a phone bank.

"One of the things that Dr. King said is that anybody and everybody can be great," said Atlanta City Council president Ceasar Mitchell. 

The event is prepared to feed 4,000 people at the convention center and deliver another 5,000 meals.

Channel 2's Linda Stouffer spent the morning with a group from the Home Depot Foundation as they painted the Mary Hall Freedom House - a center for women and children.

"A lot of the moethers are veterans in the program so we are workign with the women veterans who are in transition and finding their way again,"  spokeswoman Heather Pritchard said.

In Memphis, Tenn., where King was assassinated, an audio recording of an interview with King will be played at the National Civil Rights Museum. The recording sheds new light on a phone call President John F. Kennedy made to King's wife more than 50 years ago.

Watch Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 for live reports of today's celebrations.