Americans are honoring the life and work of Martin Luther King, Junior, the slain civil-rights leader, who would have been 74-years-old this year.
Monday , Januar 20, is a federal holiday in memory of Dr.King, and most of the nation's government offices, financial institutions and schools are closed.
President Bush and his wife Laura marked the holiday by attending a memorial service at a predominately Black Baptist church in Landover, Maryland. The president said there is still work to do to fulfill Dr. King's dream of equality in the United States. Mr. Bush said it was fitting to honor Martin Luther King in a church.
A memorial service was also held at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, where Martin Luther King served as pastor. His widow, Coretta Scott King, spoke to a crowd of about one-thousand people. She urged world leaders to settle their differences peacefully.
Martin Luther King is credited not only with leading black America's civil-rights struggle, but also with making non-violence the accepted means of seeking social change in the United States.
Dr. King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957. In the years that followed, he organized non-violent protests against racial segregation and other unfair treatment of black Americans, and suffered frequent threats, attacks and arrests as a result.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, four years before he was assassinated in the state of Tennessee.
In cities and towns across the country, volunteer groups recruited people to help in the community and memorial services and parades are being held.