Haley praises Martin Luther King in address

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she thinks the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., would be proud of the progress South Carolina has made.

Haley spoke Tuesday morning at the Columbia Urban League's annual breakfast recognizing the slain civil rights leader.

She is the state's first female and first minority governor. The Republican governor's parents emigrated from India.

Haley says at age 5 she was mesmerized by King and felt like every word he said was spoken directly to her.

James T. McLawhorn Jr. is the local urban league's executive director. McLawhorn has said the event's goal is to bring together business and political leaders to try to find common ground.

Tuesday's breakfast comes days before the 13th annual MLK Day rally at the Statehouse.

Governor Nikki Haley also issued a proclamation making January 21 "Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service" throughout the state of South Carolina. She encouraged all South Carolinians to celebrate Dr. King's life and legacy with community service projects.