Gov. Haley: MLK would be proud of South Carolina

01/15/2013 11:39 AM

01/15/2013 2:59 PM

Gov. Nikki Haley said at a breakfast Tuesday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King that the civil rights leader would be proud that South Carolina elected her -- the daughter of Indian immigrants.

Haley said she admired King since she was a 5 year old growing up in Bamberg because he said things that related to her.

She shared stories of discrimination while growing up. Her family could not join the local country club, she was disqualified from a beauty pageant because judges could not put her in category for white or black contestants and police eyed she and her father while shopping at a produce stand.

Haley said as a child she was proud to say she and King were Capricorns since their birthdays are so close together -- his on Jan. 15 and hers on Jan. 20

“I just tried to find any way to connect with someone that I would never be blessed to know,” Haley told about 200 government, business and civic leaders at a Columbia Urban League breakfast in West Columbia. “But I will tell you that I have been changed. All of us have been changed."

“And he would be so proud of South Carolina, " she said. "He would be so proud of what we have become that he would tell us, ‘Don’t stop.’ He would say, ‘See, this is just the beginning.’ ”

The governor asked South Carolinians to perform some community service on the King Holiday on Monday. She said after her speech that she will speak to her two children about what her will family will do.

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