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St. Mary Catholic School in Royal Oak to Celebrate MLK on Monday

As the nation recognizes Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, here's a look at the civil rights leader's Michigan connections.

On Monday morning, the students at St. Mary Catholic School in Royal Oak will be commemorating the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through a day of service.

"A student-led prayer service will be held in the morning, followed by a day filled with activities that bring a greater awareness of the hardships that many people face to the St. Mary students," said Principal Gabriela Bala. "St. Mary Parish hosts a warming shelter for the homeless during the month of January and all classes will be working to help feed the homeless guests, both physically and spiritually."

Bala said some classes are making scarves, while others will make sandwiches and snack bags so that the homeless visitors can take a lunch with them for the day. Still others will be making “survival kits” containing lip balm, hand warmers, and other necessary items.

The students also plan to write messages of hope and love on handmade prayer cards and decorated lunch bags.

"Having students in attendance on MLK is a long-standing tradition at St. Mary," Bala said. "The service projects are followed up by classroom activities that help the students learn about Dr. King and his peaceful fight for a world in which all people are valued and treated equally. MLK day at St. Mary is truly a day of life-long lessons and learning that extends beyond the walls of the classroom, making this world a better place for all." 

Martin Luther King, Jr. left his mark during his lifetime as a civil rights activist, including a couple stops in the Detroit area.

Five ways King is tied to Michigan:

1. Original Dream Speech - King first delievered the "I have a Dream" speech to a crowd of 150,000 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, two months before the famous rendention in during the March on Washington in 1963.

2. Historical Recording - The original version of the "Dream" speech was recorded by Gordy Records, a subsidiary of Motown Records in Detroit.

3. Rosa Parks Bus - When she refused to give up her seat to a white person on a public bus in 1955, Rosa Parks, a tired black seamstress, sparked the civil rights movement that King led. That bus remains one of the most visited exhibits in Dearborn's Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

4. Visit to Grosse Pointe - In 1968, King gave a speech to a crowd of 2,700 at what is now Grosse Pointe South High School, according to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society. He was assasinated three weeks later.

5. MLK Symposium - Monday will mark the 27th annual MLK symposium at the University of Michigan. Each year the university focuses on a topic related to King in an effort to "remember the work and legacy of Dr. King." This year's theme is 50 Years Later (R) Evolution of the Dream.

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