As the city geared up to observe Martin Luther King Day, the Apollo Theater got the festivities started early on Sunday by celebrating two men who helped give the civil rights icon his start.

The NAACP held an event titled “Unsung Champions of Civil Rights from MLK to Today” at which it honored E.D. Nixon, who asked a then-26-year-old King to help lead the boycott of segregated bussing in Montgomery, Ala.

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By: Shari Logan and Maz Jaeger