People filed into Rising Star Baptist Church on Monday morning to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after walking in the annual march through downtown Walnut Cove.
Rev. Gregory Hairston said it was a tragedy to see King die, but believes he left a powerful legacy behind for the next generation.
“Dr. Martin Luther King exemplified all that we should be. He demonstrated love in everything that he did. And he reached out to all facets of people.”
The Reverend said he remembers the dark days of segregation.
“I know what it was like to go through the back door. I wasn’t allowed to go in certain restrooms. Dr. Martin Luther King has given us, as a black race, strength to stand up for injustice, to live out the cause of your life. You are somebody. I recall that even God said that all men are created equal in the image of God. It makes no difference about color or race or creed.”
The annual event, sponsored by the Christian Awareness Program, encouraged school-aged children to write essays on the influence of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the changes he made. Participants included: Deja Welch, Jayden Welch, Lashon Martin and Tahirih McDonald.
Deja Welch read her essay confidently in front of a full church.
“Martin was a leader of the Civil Rights movement and he fought for everyone. He marched because he felt that the way people were treated was not fair. Martin wanted everyone to get along and he knew that no one should be judged for their race. He fought peacefully with no violence.”
She continued, “There are a lot of things that have brought about change. We can all go to the same school. We can eat at the same restaurant and we don’t have to sit at the rear of the bus. There are still people judged by their race, but we have prayer and that will make a difference.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.