Commemorations across the country honored his life, his legacy and his dream. People across the valley weigh in on the significance of Martin Luther King Day.
"Ya know, he did a lot of good,” says Joe Handlan, of Vienna.
It hits close to home for Aspen Davis.
"Cause I have family that is of all ethnic groups,” the Parkersburg resident says.
King fought for freedom and equality.
"I feel like it's important because back then women and men weren’t equal and whites and colors were not equal,” says Taylor Byerly, of Vienna.
More than two decades after his death, Martin Luther King Jr. remains America’s preeminent symbol of the Civil Rights Movement.
"There's a lot of people in the United States, no doubt through the years who've done a lot of good and ya know, he's one of 'em,” Handlan says. “Ya know -- but there's others also. So ya know, he made a difference."
That means transcending racial barriers.
"When we come together for family reunions, like it's a big deal for us to know that we're all equal and that skin color doesn't make a difference,” Davis says.
We've made progress, but there's still work to be done.
"Now that we all get to share the earth and how we're equal and how we can all go into Walmart or go into a store and all be treated equally is really good,” Byerly says.
King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
His message couldn't be more pertinent than it is today.