OGDEN -- Groups of people gathered around tables covered with white tablecloths in the Marshall White Center and dined on Southern fare, such as biscuits and gravy and grits, loaded on plates.
"Slave-time food," Thomas Jackson said. The Ogden resident said it was the food black people ate in the back of the house in the South, the leftovers rejected by their white counterparts.
It is also the food Jackson ate when he marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. On Monday morning, he helped prepare the meal to honor the famous civil rights leader.
The event was organized by the Ogden branch of the NAACP, which serves Weber and Davis counties. About 250 to 300 people were expected to attend the event, which ended with a Freedom March to the Ogden Amphitheater.
The branch's new president, Stanley Ellington, who started in his post this month, served as guest speaker. He took the time to introduce himself to the community, but more importantly, he called the residents of Ogden to service.
"We as a community, we aren't doing everything we need to do to move ourselves and get involved," Ellington said.
"We don't necessarily have to sit around and wait for things to happen; we should make programs that improve the quality of life."
He sees a need to boost programs in arts, science, education and fitness.
"Anything that is going to enhance their intellect and give them exposure to the world," Ellington said.
The need for service brought Paige Parsons and a few of her fellow AmeriCorps volunteers to the event. The volunteers joined other groups, such as the Boys and Girls Club and Weber County Democrats, to help serve the breakfast, which was also a community outreach event, providing a meal for unfortunate people in the area.
"I believe everybody should serve the community," Parsons said. "I believe we should always serve the community."
That was a sentiment echoed throughout the country.
Parsons reiterated the call to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a "day on instead of a day off," by dedicating the day to service instead of just another day to stay home from work or school.
"Ogden is a big community that needs a lot of service," Parsons said.
Serving the community should not be limited to one day in the year, Ellington said. He hopes people will dedicate their time to helping others year-round.
"We live 365 days of the year, and we should be doing something for others every day of the year," Ellington said.
However, along with a call to service, attendees remembered King's service to the country.
"He illustrated and demonstrated how life should be in America," said Washington Terrace resident H.C. Massey. "This will keep the movement in people's minds and hearts and souls, and this will keep us together."
Massey sat next to Thomas White, of Clearfield, who said the event also is a way for the whole community to gather.
"So often, you see people and it's just a passing-by thing, and you come here and you can see the different cultures coming together," White said.
"It's not a black thing, it's about the community coming together. You see people sitting together of all races."
White said the country is one day closer than yesterday to fulfilling King's dream.
"If you look at back in his day at the way things were," White said, "we are a lot better, but we still have a ways to go."