COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina civil rights leaders paused their celebration of Martin Luther King Day to watch President Barack Obama take the oath of office for his second term.
Organizers of the annual rally put up a big screen for the first time Monday so the crowd of several hundred could watch the inauguration.
The theme of this year's rally sponsored by the NAACP was mental health. Speakers urged the crowd to ask their elected leaders to give more money and support to treating mental illness.
The rally started with a church service, followed by a march several blocks through
downtown Columbia to the Statehouse for speeches and music.
"He knew how to engage in celebration without living a hallucination," North Carolina NAACP President Reverend William Barber said; speaking about Martin Luther King. "He knew how to thank god for progress, and be concerned about what still needed to be done. He understood that not only do we need an inauguration, we need a revelation."
Thousands took those words as they marched from Zion Baptis Church on Washington St. to the statehouse; not only to remember the past, but to witness history by watching President Obama's inauguration.
The NAACP started the annual rally in 2000 to protest the flying of the Confederate flag atop the Statehouse dome.