Holiday pays homage to great leader

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The holiday set aside for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is not justanother day to make a long weekend, but a day to remember his lifeand the impact he had on society, said the Rev. Patrick Hardyduring the annual Alpha Phi Alpha program Sunday at AlexanderJunior High School.

“If you know anything about history, you know we should taketime to pay homage to this man who meant so much to so many,” Hardysaid.

Hardy spoke to a large crowd about the cost of freedom and theimpact of a life like King’s. He followed other speakers, as wellas the Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church Praise Team.

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“The theme for the night is ‘The Vision That Cannot Be Hidden,'”said Dorian Williams, president of Mu Pi Lambda Chapter of AlphaPhi Alpha, which presided over the program.

Rose Powell of the “O” Foundation spoke briefly about theongoing work on Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive, pointing to the factthat change needs to come from the inside.

“With prayer, vision, and hard work, we can make a change,” shesaid. “And we welcome your ability to lead, look to your guidance,and we need your help. Let’s not lose sight of the dream.”

Hardy, pastor at St. James Missionary Baptist Church, spokealong the same lines.

“Before there’s a vision, there must be a foundation,” he said.”How can I begin to understand the impact Dr. King had on peopleall over the world? As young as I am, I can’t understand what myancestors went through.”

Hardy, to the hearty approval of his audience, spoke ofwondering what he needed to say to the crowd.

“When I prayed about it, I said, ‘Lord, tell me what to say.’And He did. He said, ‘Tell them I’m the one who gave them Dr.King!” said Hardy.

He also referred briefly to the conflict in the Middle East whenhe spoke on freedom.

“I didn’t understand what it cost. I used to think freedom wasfree,” he said. “But everywhere, the fight for justice costs. Itcost Dr. King his life.”

He also drew a correlation between today’s black community andIsrael during Bible times.

“Think about what’s going on in society today as black folk,” hesaid. “We came through the hardship of slavery; we perseveredthrough the civil rights movement. He’s brought us through time andtime again, and just like Israel, we have turned our back on God.We must redefine a position with Him and rediscover Hispromises.”

Hardy ended his energetic and inspiring talk to a series ofstanding ovations.

“This Christian walk takes us through the dark valleys, but wedon’t have to walk them alone,” he said.