NY's first African American governor honored ahead of Dr. MLK Day

David Paterson, New York's first African American governor, was honored Sunday for his trailblazing accomplishments ahead of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.

News 12 Staff

Jan 21, 2021, 1:42 PM

Updated 1,276 days ago

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David Paterson, New York's first African American governor, was honored Sunday for his trailblazing accomplishments ahead of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.
The Hempstead native and former New York governor was given the key to the village. The honor on the day before the Dr. Martin Luther King remembrance holiday made it even more important to Paterson, he says.
"Right here in this room, we have the leadership capacity to continue his dream and become reality," Paterson said.
He added he's been disappointed with the level of racism and division seen over the last few years, and recently at the capital.
"We are in a severe time of turbulence in this country," he said.
Civil rights activists agree with him, saying even though Dr. King is gone, there is a lot to do to make his dream a reality.
"The image of the Confederate flag actually inside the Capitol was so disheartening," said Elaine Gross of ERASE Racism.
Gross says a lot of attention has been paid to recent events, and though they shouldn't be forgotten, there have been some successes -- including the first African American and Jewish man elected to the senate in Georgia, plus the growing Black Lives Matter movement. But still, she says, there is a lot more work to be done to bring people together and remove stereotypes.
"I think if Martin Luther king were here, he would be applauding that there are many of us still in the trenches trying systematically to bring about the changes we need," said Gross.
Paterson agrees, but notes Dr. King's words -- that sometimes we must go backward a little bit to go forward.
Hempstead Village will also remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a special outdoor ceremony Monday at 10 a.m. in Kennedy Memorial Park.


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