Updated: Monday, 17 Jan 2011, 9:43 PM CST
Published : Monday, 17 Jan 2011, 3:27 PM CST
Hundreds of people in Appleton braved the snow to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. at Lawrence University.
As music filled the Memorial Chapel at the Monday evening service. So to, did King's message.
"Peaceful resistance to oppression and what a powerful way of dealing with oppression," Tom Hannah of Neenah said.
In celebration of King's 82nd birthday the crowd stopped to remember the past and reflect on progress made.
"Dr. King was the father of our civil rights movement and he was assassinated and his life ended in violence, but he was a man of non violence and it's important that we remember that," City of Appleton Diversity Coordinator Kathy Flores said.
"We have a civil rights act, we have voting rights, we have new laws that are coming to pass all the time and we have an African American president and I think that his wildest dream might not have included that," author and actress Ysaye Barnwell said.
Barnwell delivered the keynote speech in the musical celebration, the city's 20th annual tribute to Dr. King.
The celebration featured readings by student winners of the annual Martin Luther King essay contest and musical performances by Barnwell and Lawrence students.
"In 1992 Appleton was a very different place than it is now," Flores said.
She says the Fox Valley is much more diverse. But she feels many in the community are embracing those changes, promoting unity and following Dr. King's example of peace.
"This was a man who was highly educated, a man who was a thinker, a man who was an exquisite orator.
And a man who still has relevance today.