King March Has Added Meaning
"We walk with new meaning," says Maria Lee, "for we have overcome."
Lee was among several hundred residents who walked in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. memorial march in Southern Pines. She helped to carry the banner for the Community Helpers of West Southern Pines.
For many, this year's march had an even more special meaning, with the inauguration Tuesday of Barack Obama as the nation's first black president. Marchers wore T-shirts picturing the faces of both Martin Luther King Jr. and President Obama.
The march began at the intersection of East Broad and New York Avenue at the Southern Pines Park, and traveled through downtown Southern Pines and up Pennsylvania Avenue, ending at Southern Pines Primary School.
"This is a momentous occasion," James Moore said as he marched. "The legacy of Barack Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are coming together today."
Residents of all ages marched, some of whom have taken part in the event for many years.
"I've done this for 14 years," Phyllis Jones said. "I brought my grandsons, to get them involved. It's just a beautiful thing to do."
Others, such as Lee, marched for the first time.
"It's the first year I've been able to get off work to participate in the march," Lee said, "although I usually come to the Sunday night program each year."
Following the march, the Moore County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held its annual observance program in the auditorium of Southern Pines Primary.
The guest speaker was Juanessa Lucas of Kingdom Minded Ministries International, who talked about what Martin Luther King might say today.
Highlights of the program included Latoya Lambert reading the poem "Same Chains," Sheena Hill singing "Encourage Yourself," Aleigha, Elasha and Ajahanah Lambert performing two songs (the national anthem and a surprise selection), Tracy Morman doing an inspirational dance to the song "Never Would Have Made It" and step performances by the Pinecrest High School Steppers and the West Pine Middle School Step Team.
"We have so much talent in here, it's amazing," Winfield said.
The auditorium was nearly filled. O'Linda Gillis, the president of the Moore County Chapter of the NAACP, said she was "excited and pleased with the turnout."
The Sandhills Fellowship of Churches held its annual Martin Luther King's Day observance service at 7 p.m. Sunday at Southern Pines Primary School. The program featured Kenneth Capel, who delivered a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. entitled "Great, But."
Paul and Sharon Murphy started off the round of performances with a song they had written themselves about King. Paul played the piano, with Sharon singing. The Project Succeed Choir played "Peace on Earth" and "America the Beautiful" on handbells. Nathan Brower played two songs by Mahalia Jackson, "How I Got Over" and "Pray for Me" and reminded the audience that Mahalia Jackson was one of Martin Luther King's favorite singers. Brower then played "Lean on Me," calling up a friend to accompany him on saxophone.
After Capel's speech, the Note-A-Bells choir sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and one other selection and the Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church sang "Joy of My Salvation."
To end the service, the entire audience stood and sang "We Shall Overcome" while the Church Women United held a candlelight vigil in the front of the auditorium.
"Everyone's excited," said the Rev. Joseph Thompson, the director of the observance service. "They're connecting this to what happens Tuesday, with the inauguration of Barack Obama, and it feels like the spirit of Martin Luther King is alive in all of us today."
Veola McLean set up an exhibit in the lobby of the auditorium displaying a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. with the words "I have a dream" written below it. Nearby was a T-shirt with the faces of Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. Below their faces were the words, "Some dreams become reality."
Contact Laura Eddy by e-mail at email@example.com.
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