updated 1/12/2007 5:20:45 PM ET 2007-01-12T22:20:45

Georgia's top politicians linked hands Friday with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s relatives and belted "We Shall Overcome" during a joyous celebration of the civil rights leader's life.

During the ceremony at the state Capitol, officials and civil rights leaders urged Americans to spend the King holiday making real his vision of racial equality.

"Let's make Georgia the beacon of hope to illuminate the path to that dream," said King's nephew, Isaac Newton Farris Jr.

Gov. Sonny Perdue echoed his call. "It's just as much our calling as it was his," he said. "May we leave behind a trail so bright that others can see."

The governor received a standing ovation after Farris thanked him for opening the Capitol to a public viewing for King's wife, Coretta Scott King, after she died in February 2006. She was the first woman and first black person to lie in honor in what once was a seat of segregation.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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