The Black Heritage Committee organized a Celebration Day for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 22. The day started with a program at the MLK Recreation Center themed around “The Power of a Dream.”
Rev. Brad Holden presided over the event. Inspirational singing was performed by the Asbury UMC Youth Choir and Bishop Lee Hall led the invocation. The “Polly” Choir of the First Baptist Church on Amulet Street performed a selection and Carolyn Sawyer greeted attendees on behalf of the event organizer: The Black Heritage Committee and the event chairperson: City Council member Sylvia Morrow.
The brother of the NSU Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the Rivers of Joy Praise Team and the Christian Outreach Center all performed tributes in praise.
Dr. Doris Small presented Dr. King and MLK Service Awards Maina Mohammed, Trini Willis, Jamar Benjamin, and William Allen. The speaker: Dr. Gloria Smith-Gandy spoke to the audience and then Dr. Linda King performed a vocal solo. Bishop Kelvin Stewart then performed a spoken word piece.
The day ended at the MLK Triangle to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with presentations by the Dawn of Light Lodge No. 22 F&AM Prince Hall Masons, the NSU Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Pastor Brian Small and other community members.
“It’s a great day to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, who has been a hero to African Americans across the world,” said Small. “My mother drug me down here as a child even when I didn’t understand it and I’m honored to stand here today. I have my son with me today and we have to continue to educate our children. We need more young black men, like the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, who are willing to take a stand for something they believe in.”
Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
“Dr. King answered the call,” said Small. “The call was that blacks all over the nation were being treated unfairly. There was a cultural divide. He knew there was a problem and he had the guts to step up.”
Small said the African American community still has a long way to go, but thanks to the sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others like him, they have a choice.
“Dr. King had a dream but we can’t live in the dream anymore,” said Small. “We have regressed. We need to realize that we are all one thing and that is God’s people. We can do better as a people but if Dr. King were here today I think he’d tell you the dream is failing. It’s time for us to have some dreams. To get busy in our community.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”