King’s legacy remembered at Monday birthday celebration, breakfast
By Kathryn Schiliro
When it comes to celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Morgan Countians wake up early.
At least 150 (and probably more) locals filled Source of Light Ministries Monday at 8 a.m. for a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration (and breakfast) sponsored by the Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and Morgan County Branch, NAACP.
Following fellowship, song and scripture, attorney Gail Reid gave the keynote address.
While the national NAACP used the slogan "Remember! Celebrate! Act!" Reid chose to address King's focus, fortitude and faith.
While he began with the goal of liberating black people from injustices faced in this country, King's focus grew to include the liberation of oppressed people worldwide from economic, educational, social injustice, Reid stated. For example, King's focus towards the end of his life shifted to opposition of the war in Vietnam.
"[He wanted] justice and equality for all of God's children," Reid said.
King's fortitude, according to Reid, applied to achieving what it was he focused on.
"Dr. King's strength to stand non-violently against his oppressors is a source of inspiration to...movements across the world," Reid said.
Faced with lynching, high-pressure hoses and dogs turned loose on crowds, King was "non-violent against opponents who were anything but non-violent," Reid said.
"How could he?" Reid said. "Because he walked by faith."
Though he is viewed primarily as a social activist, Reid contends King was a theologian and scholar first.
"He was a preacher to his core," Reid said. "His faith was the embodiment of God's love, which is non-discriminatory."
In the end, Reid contends that the "Civil Rights Movement was the advancement of the Christian agenda."
Reid cited injustices to be combatted even today: economic injustices, or "the gap between the abject poor and superfluous wealth," exist, most recently made evident by the collapse of Wall Street, the economy and soaring unemployment. Social injustices still exist; Reid cited the population of the prison system as an example of this. "There are more black males going to prison than college," Reid said.
"As we remember, as we celebrate, as we act, we must remember that today is a day on, not a day off, for seeking justice for all of God's children," Reid said. "Tomorrow is a day for seeking justice for all of God's children. The day after that is a day for seeking justice for all of God's children. Three hundred and sixty-five days a year are for seeking justice for all of God's children."