Cleveland mayor a living legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream for a more inclusive America

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 5:30 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb wasn’t born yet when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April of 1968.

But the influence of Dr. King’s dream, his speeches and especially his writings, set the tone for the 35-year-old mayor, the second youngest in the city’s history.

Bibb spoke with 19 News Reporter and Host Harry Boomer in an exclusive one-on-one interview at city hall.

He said King’s book “Why We Can’t Wait” helped set the pace of his dedication to get involved socially and politically, and to eventually motivate him to run for mayor of Cleveland.

Bibb read the book while in college, and he said it gave him an affinity for Dr. King, helping him appreciate what the Civil Rights leader called “the fierce urgency of now.”

The legacy of Dr. King led Bibb to work for then-senator and later America’s first African American president, Barack Obama, who advised him not to run for anything, but rather run be something special and make a positive difference.

Bibb and Boomer discussed a wide range of issues, including the promise of Dr. King’s dream of a more inclusive, just and fair American society, where people would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, a central theme of King’s life.

Mayor Bibb spoke about his sense of obligation to the residents in Cleveland, and he vows to govern with truth as his guiding light.