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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations To Continue In 'Fuzzy' Thompson's Absence

Laura Ziegler

Leaders from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups in Kansas City are promising that the city's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations will continue in the absence of The Rev. Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson.

Thompson was laid to rest Saturday, just two days before MLK Day. The long-time civil rights activist had a big hand in organizing Kansas City's events honoring the life and work of King. 

But organizers and other civil rights leaders aren't worried about the celebrations losing steam in the wake of Thompson's death. Arlana Coleman has helped plan the events for the past 12 years. She says the SCLC will honor Thompson's memory.

"We are committed to carrying on his legacy, " Coleman says. "[MLK Day] is something that he looked forward to every year, so we're going to make sure it continues to happen on his behalf."

In fact, some involved with the holiday, like retired Reverend Sam Mann, believe Thompson's death will be the impetus for growing the celebrations.

"We will do creative things around [Fuzzy's] memory," Mann says. "I mean, if we didn't, he'd come back to haunt us."

For information about Kansas City's MLK Day activities, you can go to the SCLC's website.

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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