HASTINGS- ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — Shortly after the election, Jerry Steinberg knew the perfect way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. would be while celebrating the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
"We just felt it was the perfect time to hold an event like this," Steinberg said. "It's just so fitting that on Martin Luther King Day, we're also inaugurating our first black president for his second term."
Steinberg was part of a group of residents who organized a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Monday at the James Harmon Community Center in Hastings. Breakfast was served and local artist and storyteller Madge Scott was honored for her work. Attorney Arthur Matthews, who has roots in the civil rights movement, was the keynote speaker.
The 100 people in attendance watched footage of King's "I Have A Dream" speech before watching live coverage of Obama's inauguration in Washington, D.C.
The event was the first of its kind in Hastings, but the decision to honor Scott was an easy one, Steinberg said.
"We wanted to honor someone not just for their work and achievements, but also someone who is heavily involved in the community," Steinberg said of Scott, who is a member of the Rivertowns Arts Council and teaches drawing at Guiding Hands Studio in Dobbs Ferry.
Scott, an African-American woman, said she was moved to tears while watching the replay of King's famous speech.
"It's such a strong speech," Scott said. "I just wish he was here with us to witness how far we've come as a country."
Monday's events were a direct reflection of King's work, Steinberg said.
"Without Martin Luther King, who knows if we would even be here to celebrate the second inauguration of President Obama?" Steinberg said. "It truly is a historic day for our country."