Saturday program to honor King’s legacy

Published 7:00 pm Friday, January 14, 2011

In 1963, Dr. Martin L. King Jr., had a dream. He imagined aworld where all people could walk hand in hand and were judged bycharacter and not by their looks.

During his famous speech, he specifically called out Southernstates. And while it is uncertain if his dream has come true,community members have a chance to continue progress toward makingit a reality.

While Brookhaven is just one of several cities in the MagnoliaState, the Mu Pi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.is hoping to continue King’s dream of promoting equality of allraces and commemorate the civil rights leader’s accomplishmentswith its annual King program.

This year’s event will be held at Alexander Junior High School onSaturday at 6 p.m. The theme, “The Celebration of a Legacy and aCall to Action,” will be observed through various poems, songs andguest appearances.

“Every year we think about more that can be added into theprogram,” said Vernell Hooker, Alpha Phi Alpha member and programchairman. “My thing is, it’s best to do something thannothing.”

This year’s guest speaker will be Mississippi native the Rev.Charles Eddie Spencer.

Spencer pastors Little Zion United Methodist Church in Hazlehurst,and is a motivational speaker and author. He was featured in Dr.Bill Cosby’s “Call-Out to the Community Session,” which aired onPublic Broadcasting Television for four months and USA Today hashonored him as one of their 50 national drug-fighting heroes.

Hooker said a crowd of roughly 150 people usually attends the civicprogram and a reception with refreshments will follow theevent.

“Though Brookhaven is small, you don’t get to see people thatoften,” said Hooker. “(The reception) is a chance to see familiarfaces and mingle.”

While civil rights have certainly come a long way from before Kingmade his speech, Hooker is uncertain about how he might feel aboutthe current state of affairs of race relations.

“He would probably see some progress, but there’s still room forgrowth,” said Hooker. “I don’t think he’d deny the smallbeginnings, because small beginnings lead to big things.”

As the fight for civil rights included sitting down, the programallows for all community members to stand up to continue King’snearly 50-year-old dream.

“It’s a program to bring about unity regardless of race, color ornationality,” said Hooker. “Because he was a black figurehead wemay look at it as he stood for one group of people, but he stoodfor all people.”

The event will not only serve as a remembrance of King’s legacy andprovide an outlet to promote civil unity; the program will allowcommunity members to focus on more constructive aspects of lifearound town.

“We don’t realize there are positive things going on in thecommunity,” said Hooker. “Not just in your neighborhood, but in thecity of Brookhaven.”