Reminiscent of the marches in the South during the 1960s, more than 4,000 blacks locked arms and sang spirituals as they walked downtown to the Columbus Civic Center. Civil rights leaders from the days of King - the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference - mingled with newer voices such as television judge Greg Mathis and former Iraq prisoner of war Shoshana Johnson.
The carefully orchestrated Columbus march was used to bring national attention to the case of Kenneth Walker who was killed by a white sheriff's deputy and to provide a platform to address issues of racial profiling and police brutality.
Walker, a 39-year-old insurance analyst, was killed by a Muscogee County sheriff's deputy in December 2003, after the sport utility vehicle in which he was riding was stopped during a drug investigation. Walker was shot in the head, though no drugs or weapons were found.
"You can't fight terror in Iraq and not come to terms with acts of terror in Columbus. This was an act of terror." said Lowery.
Jackson said the Walker case shows that there is a "season" of violence in the United States and that African-Americans are disproportionately the targets.
"They lock us up for profit and they kill us for sport," said Jackson. "How do we celebrate Dr. King's birthday? We must never forget and we must turn our pain into power with massive voter registration and electing people who represent us."