The stirring words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. echoed throughout the Jamie Foxx Performing Arts Center on Monday as tribute was paid to the American civil rights icon.

Terrell’s annual MLK Jr. Observance and Awards Program also paid tribute to a number of local people and organizations whose deeds and actions speak to the spirit of King’s message of justice, tolerance and service to others.

It was an evening filled with inspiring messages, prayerful reflection and joyous music.

The night’s Master of Ceremony Pastor Thomas Fitzgerald of Eastside Church of Christ in Forney gave a passionate recitation of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, delivering the same captivating words spoken at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

“It’s important to me to always acknowledge the fact that we cannot overlook the contributions that this man has made to America, to make America a better place to live for all of us,” Fitzgerald said before giving the speech, long considered one of the most consequential in American history.

Among its 1,677 words are these:  “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal."

This year’s MLK Community Service Awards went to Meals on Wheels, First United Methodist Church, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Sunday School, and Two Women on a Mission  (Tammy Spencer and Stephanie Thomas).

The Spirit of King Awards went to the late E.P. Shaw, the late Warren Roberts, the late Jack Evans Sr. and Katie Geiger.

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