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Local pastor remembers Martin Luther King Jr.

Rev. Eugene Edwards remembers the day he saw his friend’s mama crying.

It was April 4, 1968. The young man had left Sunflower County with friends to go visit some classmates and learned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated.

Edwards, who pastors at New Zion M.B. Church, spoke Sunday night on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at a tribute for the slain Civil Rights activist.

The program, “Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” was sponsored by the Lincoln County Minsters’ Alliance and held at St. James M.B. Church.

Edwards said that he’s learned much since that day when King was shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee.

“The devil will show up, but he hasn’t got the last word,” he said. “Just because Dr. King died on that roof, doesn’t mean the Lord wasn’t with him.”

Edwards said he has felt the same way after the loss of his two grandsons, Austin Edwards and Jordan Blackwell, who were shot to death in May. While grieving their deaths, he remembers King’s teachings about Godly motivated service.

He quoted scripture, Ephesians 6:6, which says “Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.”

Edwards said there’s a right way to serve and a wrong way.

The wrong way is to seek the glory of men and to do good when they’re watching.

“Some people only serve when the crowd is there,” he said. “You only serve him when you’re getting praise. When you love the praise of men more than the praise of God, that’s the wrong way to serve.”

Rev. Kendall Poole, president of the Lincoln County Ministers’ Alliance, said like King, he wants to see all men and women treated equally.

“We’ve got to be on the same team,” he said. “It’s not a matter of color, it’s not a matter of race. It’s not where you live. I don’t care what kind of car you drive. We’ve all got to be on the same teams.”

Earlier in the day, Lincoln County and Brookhaven public officials, law enforcement and fire fighters joined with several other groups to parade along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive for the annual parade sponsored by the Lincoln County NAACP.

Patricia Williams-Tillman of Williams Mortuary served as grand marshal.

The motorcade began on Minnesota Street and proceeded up Second Street before turning onto the Old Wesson Road. From there, it continued down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and turned south onto Beauregard Street, stopping in front of Alexander Junior High School.

Williams-Tillman and Character were both recognized at the tribute at St. James.