Gov. Bev Perdue attended a Martin Luther King celebration Friday and used the occasion to talk about ordinary North Carolinians who did extraordinary things.
She mentioned the four N.C A&T State University students who integrated a lunch counter, thereby beginning the sit-in movement. She cited Floyd McKissick's decision to sue the University of North Carolina to gain entrance to the law school. And she mentioned Ella Baker, the Warren County woman who traveled across the segregated South organizing for the NAACP.
“These were ordinary people who did extraordinary things for equal rights,” Perdue told a packed sanctuary at First Baptist Church across the street from the Capitol, reports Rob Christensen.
Perdue said the fight for equal rights was not over, and that the fight for providing an equal education for all children continued.
The service was attended by most top state officials. The main address was delivered by James A. Forbes Jr., senior minister emeritus at The Riverside Church in New York.
Perdue announced that the late Donice Maria Harbor received the John R. Larkins Award as the state employee who did the most to improve human and race relations. Harbor, who was director of the governor's office of citizens and faith outreach, died in July of breast cancer.