Hundreds attend annual MLK breakfast

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2005

&uot;You are just as good as anyone else&uot; was the message sent to listeners by Helonor T. Bell, mayor of Hayneville. Bell was the keynote speaker during the Butler County Civic League’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Memorial Breakfast held at Dunbar gym on Monday morning.

Bell used her dynamic speech to compare the fallen civil rights icon to characters from the Bible that gained notoriety by their refusal to quit.

&uot;Dr. King said that we could live together as brothers or perish as fools,&uot; said Bell. &uot;He chose to be humbled and not distressed and to be persecuted and not distressed. He was chosen like Noah to build the Ark, like Jacob who wrestled with the angel, like Moses who led his people through the Red Sea, like Joshua who brought the walls down around Jericho. He was chosen like the Hebrew boys who kissed away the flames of the furnace. He was chosen like Rosa Parks, like Jonathan Daniels in Hayneville, Ala., who lost his life so blacks could have the right to vote. Dr. King knew he had been chosen for greatness.&uot;

The Reverend, Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., was recognized by a national holiday during the Ronald Reagan Administration for his work that brought civil rights issues to the forefront and effectively worked to end segregation and earn equal rights for the African-American Community.

During Bell’s keynote speech she compared Dr. King to the Bible’s Esther who was thrust into a situation of having to choose between her love and her people.

&uot;It was a time of war and violence, of movement and progress,&uot; Bell said. &uot;It was a time of legacy. Like Esther, King knew he was bound for great things. Mordecai said to Esther that deliverance will come to the Jews, but you in the Father’s house will perish. Esther said if I perish let me perish. Someone had to tell them that they are just as good.&uot;

During Bell’s speech she turned her attention from the past to the present:

&uot;We are all equal,&uot; said Bell. &uot;We have too much black on black crime, white on white crime and black on white crime. Dr. King once said that we don’t need to ask who killed John F. Kennedy. We need to ask what killed John F. Kennedy. Some call this Generation X, this MTV generation, Dragonball Z generation. Drugs, guns and violence knows no color. The parents need to teach their kids that they are just as good as anyone else in the cradle, the Principal can teach it in the schoolhouses. The Preachers need to preach it in the churchhouses and even the jailors can tell those in the jailhouse that they are just as good as anyone else. I wonder what will happen if we all remain silent.&uot;

On Monday, Dr. King’s dream was changed into a realization when a group of black and white people joined together to honor his life, and culminated an event with the singing of &uot;We Shall Overcome,&uot; led by Daniel Robinson a Butler County Commissioner.

&uot;We have more projects and more jobs and we are continuing to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Butler County,&uot; said Dexter McClendon, Mayor of the City of Greenville.

Lewis Q. Gulley and Hilda Ross served as the mc’s for the program. Also, the Revelations Singers provided musical selections between some of the speakers.

During Dr. King’s life, he worked tirelessly towards a dream of equality. He believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by uniting and taking action to make this country a better place to live.

&uot;We shall live in peace some day,&uot; is the message of the final verse of We Shall Overcome. The Butler County Civic League’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Breakfast ended with a dismissing and hopeful prayer from the Rev. Fitzgerald Lindsey of Big Pine Level No. 1 Baptist Church.