(WHAS11) -- This year marks 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his historic speech at the National Mall. On the day the nation celebrates the civil rights leader’s birthday, the nation’s next generation of leaders is honoring his legacy.
Thousands gathered to honor his life and fight for racial equality and many young children in Louisville expressed their dream for a brighter future.
Dozens of young people celebrated what would be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 84th birthday.
There was no shortage of excitement for the annual motorcade along Broadway. A call to stop the violence in the West End and honor MLK's dream of peace and equality. You could feel hope from the youth.
Student Jacoya Pryor told WHAS11 her dream is to help the community.
Frayser Elementary student, Dontrell Carter, dreams of becoming President one day.
"I feel very happy for Martin Luther King but I feel sorry for his death because he was a very good black man and my dad told me it's great to have dreams and some of them might come true," Carter said.
"He fought for our freedom. He fought for us to have voice. He fought for us to come together as one," Shenita Rickman, with the Trinity Family Life Center said.
For civil rights leader, Mattie Jones, her wish is that young people continue to fight for justice.
"This is a most joyous day because I walked with Dr. King," Jones said.
As the non-violent celebration took to the streets, people cheered them on.
Hundreds gathered for a special screening at the Muhammad Ali Center. KeNiesha Zell and her daughter Milena took a look at our country's history together.
"The feeling in there is just so powerful. Not only are we celebrating a man who led such a wonderful life who helped us with peace and prosperity but he paved the way for people like President Obama," Zell said.
For a Southern High School freshman, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a call to action held together by unity.
"I know this day is real nice for everybody to come out in the city of Louisville. These people are the community and they came out here to see something happen," Makell Pence said.
Many parents have made it a tradition to teach their children about Martin Luther King Jr. by attending events like these every year as an ongoing effort to keep his memory alive.