Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy celebrated in DeKalb County


Humanitarians honored ahead of MLK holiday

Olympian Tommie Smith, DeKalb County realtor and activist Bobbie Sanford, and gospel radio legend Larry Tinsley were honored by DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond ahead of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday for their humanitarian work.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy was front and center during a DeKalb County awards ceremony on Thursday.

With a colorful backdrop behind a glass podium, an iconic Olympian, a real estate agent, and a radio personality were recognized for their dedication to positive change.

This time of year, especially in the metro Atlanta area, counties and organizations start recognizing people who live out King’s dream.

Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith was honored at the DeKalb County’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration program on Jan. 11, 2024. (FOX 5)

How fitting it is, the athlete known for raising his fist for civil rights at the 1968 Olympics, who has called DeKalb County home for 20 years, was one of the awardees. 

That historic photo was captured within 6 months of MLK’s assassination, and it wasn’t lost on the young athlete.

“At 23 years old, you can you imagine how that grabbed me in terms of believing in a system that’s supposed to treat people right,” Olympic gold medalist, Tommie Smith said.

He’s since spoken all over the world about athletes and activism, saying today’s athletes who kneel are trying to find their own ways to express a similar sentiment.

Realtor and activist Bobbie Sanford was honored at the DeKalb County’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration program on Jan. 11, 2024. (FOX 5)

Instead of touting her accomplishments as she received recognition, long-time DeKalb County realtor and activist Bobbie Sanford praised the community in which she lives.

“DeKalb County leaders [have been] helping to feed the hungry during the pandemic, forming relationships with Goodwill and with housing and utilities,” she said.

Gospel radio legend Larry Tinsley was honored at the DeKalb County’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration program on Jan. 11, 2024.

Gospel radio legend Larry Tinsley shared his specific approach to owning the airwaves.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said something many years ago that sticks with me. He said, ‘We are to do our jobs so well that the living, dead, or unborn couldn’t do it better,’ and that’s my attitude when I take the air at V103,” he said.

Thursday afternoon’s ceremony is the 40th of its kind.

This is one of several events across metro Atlanta set to honor King’s life and legacy.

Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King Day. FOX5 will stream the King Center’s celebrations live. The ceremony starts at 10am. You can watch it on air, on our website and on the new FOX Local app which can be downloaded on smart TVs.

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