Residents Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
Over 100 people turned out to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday by participating in a parade through Southern Pines to honor the fallen civil rights leader's legacy.
The annual event sponsored by the West Southern Pines Civic Club began on Broad Street at the corner of New York Avenue, proceeded down Pennsylvania Avenue and ended at Southern Pines Primary School.
After the parade, many participants attended a program in H. A. Wilson Auditorium at Southern Pines Primary School hosted by the Moore County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The organization's youth division put on the program with the theme of "Martin Luther King Jr., Friends and Enemies."
The program recognized not only the work of King, but also the achievements of others who helped pave the way for the Civil Rights movement, their opponents, as well as prominent African Americans who have gone on to make significant contributions at the local, state and national level in pursuit of the ideals envisioned in King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
During the program, pastor Darrell Harris, of Endtime Harvest and Deliverance Ministries in Carthage, said that while Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrates the many advancements and sacrifices of the Civil Rights movement, the struggle to realize King's dream continues.
"Many have suggested that the struggle is over," he said. "If that's the case, I must have missed the great awakening."
Harris called for people to put aside their differences and come together, regardless of race, color, creed or socioeconomic background, to contribute as members of the same community.
"We are a vision of Dr. King's dream," he said. "We must carry the mantle of freedom. We can make a change, and we will make a change."
The parade and program were a part of several local events honoring King. On Friday, Dr. Joshua Haire was the guest speaker for Sandhills Community College's observance of the holiday during a program in Owens Auditorium.
West Southern Pines Citizens for Change also celebrated with a day of service, collecting food items to donate to BackPack Pals, and Purcell Funeral Home hosted a community fish fry.
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