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Cleveland native icon Don King receives royal tribute in New Jersey

Cleveland’s native son, global iconic boxing promoter, peace advocate, humanitarian and Call & Post Publisher, Don King went to Newark Monday, Dec. 21 for the third stop of King’s Turkey Tour. While there, King was surprised with a dignitary tribute and salute hosted by a member of congress and three mayors as he was presented the prestigious ceremonial Key to the City as well as a street named in his honor, ‘Don King Way’.

It was one of the most honored occasions in the storied life of the 84-year-old icon that began when King arrived at the airport and was escorted by uniformed police motorcade to each of his destinations.

Organized by Carolyn Shabazz, president and CEO of First Class Champions Development Center, the monumental events included the Don King Turkey Tour, an honorary street naming and the presentation of the prestigious Newark Key to the City in a ceremony presented by Mayor Ras Baraka.

Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (10th Congressional District) gave moving remarks, former Mayor Sharpe James made a passionate presentation and Mayor Ken Gibson was eloquent as he spoke of his beloved Newark, New Jersey and the relationship they have with King. Current city officials including Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins served as mistress of ceremonies, and Mayor Baraka put the icing on the cake by spelling out the vision of the future of Newark.

The Turkey Tour marked the 14th consecutive year that King handed out turkeys to needy families for the upcoming Christmas holiday in Newark.

Scores of residents formed a line that stretched along the sidewalk outside Prince Hall Masonic Temple where they waited to receive the turkeys from officials and King himself.

Carolyn Shabazz, president and CEO of First Class Champions Development Center, joins legendary boxing promoter Don King and city of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in presenting King with the Key to the City in Newark Dec. 21.

After the giveaway, King traveled downtown to Edison Place, a portion of which was renamed to honor King's work in the community. The Most Worshipful Grandmaster Shelton J. Prescott offered welcome remarks, following a prayer by Imam Mustafa L. Amin and The Rev. William Coleman.

Former Heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, whom King has said is like a son to him, also joined the tribute to his former promoter.

The Don King Turkey Tour began on Dec. 15 in Cleveland, then onto Palm Beach Florida Dec. 18 and Newark on Monday Dec. 21.

It was a glorious occasion and clear demonstration of WORKING TOGETHER WORKS in its finest tradition.

Dale Edwards contributed to this story.

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