Sunday events honor the legacy of Dr. King

Published 10:37pm Saturday, January 18, 2014

Today in Brookhaven, just as in towns throughout Mississippi and the nation this weekend, residents will gather to remember and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King’s example of non-violent protest transformed the American Civil Rights movement and was the precursor of Nelson Mandela’s work in South Africa. Tragically, Dr. King’s work was cut short in 1968, and he did not live to see the fruit of his labors for racial equality.

On Monday, the nation will celebrate a holiday to honor Dr. King. Celebrated on the third Monday of January each year, it falls on a day close to Dr. King’s birthday, which was Jan. 15, 1929. He was only 39 years old when he died, but he changed a nation within that brief span of years.

Local events today will begin with a parade honoring Dr King, starting at 3 p.m. The parade, sponsored by the Brookhaven-Lincoln County NAACP Branch No. 5268 and the Community Action Group of Brookhaven, will start in front of Williams Mortuary on East Minnesota Street and proceed to Alexander Junior High School.

Following the parade, the Mu Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Fraternity Inc. will present the Lincoln County 2014 Annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at 6 p.m. in the Alexander auditorium. Featured speaker is Stephanie Henderson, deputy superintendent of education and former interim superintendent.

The theme for this year’s celebration, “Bridging the Gap: His Dream, Our Reality,” is a fitting one. It reminds us how far America has come since the day Dr. King said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” But despite much progress, work remains to be done. Racism still rears its ugly head in our nation and our state, and, unfortunately, it can be found even within our own community.

Racial equality and acceptance is something all of us – black and white – must continue to be commited to, not just through our words, but also through our deeds.