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Speaker Tells Charlotte YMCA Breakfast Crowd MLK Would Fight Poverty Today

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ANN DOSS HELMS
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WFAE
Laresa Thompson of WCCB interviews Robert Brown, keynote speaker at Monday's YMCA MLK holiday breakfast.

More than 1,500 people gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center Monday morning to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and talk about how his mission should continue today.

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Credit ANN DOSS HELMS / WFAE
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WFAE
African-style drumming greeted hundreds of people arriving at the YMCA's 26th MLK Holiday Breakfast.

"His concern would be about the poor. Dr. King was deeply concerned about the poor," Robert Brown, keynote speaker at the YMCA of Greather Charlotte's 26th MLK Holiday Breakfast, told the crowd.

Brown is a High Point resident who served as an adviser to King in the 1960s. He's also an international business consultant, president of a foundation that has donated millions of books to African schools and author of a memoir, "You Can't Go Wrong Doing Right."

Brown said the Poor People's Campaign was one of the last things he heard King talk about before King was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. He said the same challenges continue today, but many people have gotten complacent.

"Many of us just go right by everything and don’t pay attention to anything," he said. "That’s not what God gave us resources for. You can’t take money with you."

The breakfast raises money for the McCrorey YMCA on Beatties Ford Road, which began as a blacks-only facility during the segregated 1930s and hosted the first MLK breakfast in the 1990s. Organizers reported that the 1,600 seats in the Crown Ballroom were sold out.

The breakfast was one of several events in the Charlotte region honoring King, including an interfaith prayer breakfast in Rock Hill, S.C.; a day of cultural activities at the Harvey B. Gantt Center in uptown Charlotte; and MLK Unity Awards in Gaston County.