Los Angeles marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday with Parades, a carnival, a blood drive and the decoration of a school.
The event drew thousands of spectators and dozens of elected officials.
The parade, whose theme is "We Have Not Forgotten and the Fight Is Not Over," will feature marching bands, floats, drill teams and dance groups. A daylong celebration and gospel concert will follow.
L.A. Works, a volunteer action center, will heed the call to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day "A Day On ... Not A Day Off," by having about 500 volunteers participate in the revitalization of Drew Middle School in the Florence area by painting civil rights- themed murals, planting trees and creating a Peace Garden.
Hope Worldwide, an international charity that utilizes volunteers and donations to provide community-based services to the homeless, battered women and other underserved groups, will host its second annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day carnival and blood drive in South Los Angeles.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the slain civil rights leader who was chosen to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, when he was 35 years old, at the time the youngest person to receive the award.
King first gained prominence in the mid-1950s for leading the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott, which led to the end of segregation in public transportation. His activism in marches and speeches, most famously the "I Have a Dream" speech Aug. 28, 1963 on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., helped foster the passage of civil rights laws and the end of segregation.
King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1986 under a law signed by then-President Ronald Reagan. King and George Washington are the only Americans with federal holidays celebrating their birth.
Although the holiday is celebrated by law on the third Monday in January, tomorrow is the actual anniversary of King's birth in 1929.