"It was about equal rights for all mankind regardless of age race, creed, sexual creed, and religion," said Dennis Simon, who just moved to Bangor from Dallas, Texas in May.
More than 300 people filled the Wells Conference Center Monday.
There were families, university students and staff and even state legislators in attendance.
"It's a renewance of the progress we need to make," said Reginald Johnson, a former Chief Petty Building Officer in the Navy. "Not just black Americans, but all Americans, all lives matter."
He credits Dr. King for paving a way for his career.
"I remember the doors that were opened for me through desegregation," says Johnson.
Simon was able to recall his time marching with Coretta Scott King and reflect on the qualities that set Dr. King apart from others.
"Being authentic, just being real and being loving and kind," he said.
Maine representative Craig Hickman gave the keynote address.
He was just one-year-old when king was assassinated.
"In some ways the arc of my life corresponds to the time that's past since Martin left us," said Hickman.
He says there is one quality of Dr. King that we can all take with us.
"Persistence, you never give up, you never turn around, you rise up after being knocked down and you keep moving."
The celebration was co-sponsored by the Greater Bangor Area NAACP and the University's Division of Student Life.