First Posted: 1/19/2009
Surry County residents celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day
Monday marked the 19th annual Surry County NAACP Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon. But this years celebration had an extra special meaning yesterday for those in attendance at the event because of the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first black president, today.
While honoring the memory of slain civil rights activist King, speakers and guests at Our Heritage: The Dreamers Dream Continues also recognized that a portion of his dream has been accomplished.
Have we turned another corner, have we arrived? keynote speaker Carolyn McCarther Watkins asked an audience of more than a hundred who attended the celebration held at the fellowship hall of Central United Methodist Church.
How would King feel to know Barack Hussein Obama an ancestor of both former slaves and former slave masters is our president? said Watkins of Mount Airy, who is a long-time educator and co-owner of Bright Beginnings Preschool. Is there something to be taken from this? Im not sure many of us here believed we would see this day. What would King say? It could only happen in America.
As the crowd erupted into applause, Watkins went on to say that while its exciting to live to see a piece of American history, she reminded them that its important to realize that Kings vision for justice and race relations is still ongoing. She cautioned the crowd that Obamas ascent to the nations highest political office is not the final achievement of Kings vision.
We cannot become satisfied and comfortable, she encouraged the audience. We have to continue to progress on to a higher mark of Jesus Christ through the inspiration provided by Martin Luther King.
She told the crowd that Kings legacy of equality and justice has paved the way for historic moments such as Obamas election.
What King did for America cost his life, but the influence of his death may have done more than him in his lifetime, she said. Because of the crevices left by slavery, were still trying to deal with this thing called race relations. What was Kings dream for America? Simply put it was justice.
She also said that Kings legacy should be instilled in how parents raise their children.
You begin as a child to be prepared to be ready for a time such as this, she said. The desires and values you instill in your children are the most important gift you can give them. What you view as important your children will view as important. Are you noticing their dreams and helping them to take root?
Faye H. Carter, the president of the Surry County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Watkins words were those both the community and its children could build from and she encouraged the crowd to attend a viewing party of the Obamas inauguration on television today.
This event is an exciting thing for me and shows how we can come together as a people, Carter said.
The gathering will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Historical L.H. Jones Auditorium on Jones School Road and is sponsored by both the local NAACP and the J.J. Jones Alumni and VISIONS. Admission is free, and it is open to the public. Refreshments will also be served throughout the day.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.