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South Carolina’s biggest MLK Day event going virtual again

January 9, 2022 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s biggest ceremony to honor the life of civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. will be held virtually again because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The King Day at the Dome event also had to be held virtually because of the pandemic in 2021, according to the South Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The keynote speaker for the virtual celebration on Jan. 17 will be NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman Leon Russell, state NAACP Conference President Brenda Murphy told The State newspaper.

The event is usually held at the Statehouse after a church service at Zion Baptist Church in downtown Columbia and a march to the capitol grounds.

The first King Day at the Dome brought in thousands of people protesting the Confederate flag that then flew atop the Statehouse dome.

In later years, speakers called for better healthcare and education, criminal justice reform and other civil rights goals.

During presidential election years, the event often draws Democratic candidates to speak weeks before South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary.