Caro­line cel­e­brates Dr. King’s legacy

Times-Record - - Front Page - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­record.com

DEN­TON — A large crowd gath­ered in Den­ton on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mon­day, Jan. 16, to cel­e­brate the civil rights leader’s legacy and ideals.

This was the sixth year for the event, held when schools are closed in ob­ser­va­tion of the fed­eral hol­i­day mark­ing King’s birth­day, called a “day on, in­stead of a day off” by event cochairs Wanda Molock and Janet Foun­tain.

This year’s cel­e­bra­tion be­gan with a pro­gram at Lock­er­man Mid­dle School, con­tin­ued with a march to the Caro­line County Cir­cuit Court­house to hear a recita­tion of King’s fa­mous “I Have a Dream” speech and closed with a gath­er­ing at Union Bethel A.M.E. Church.

“As Dr. King said, if you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl, but what­ever you do, you have to keep mov­ing,” Foun­tain said in her wel­com­ing re­marks. “We shall con­tinue to move for­ward to­gether.”

Molock said her fa­vorite quote of King’s is, “Life’s most per­sis­tent and ur­gent ques­tion is, ‘What are you do­ing for oth­ers?’”

“We are here to­day to serve,” Molock said. “We wanted the chil­dren of Caro­line County to have some­thing to do on Martin Luther King Day in­stead of a day off.”

Den­ton Town Coun­cilmem­ber Keith John­son said King, through­out his

ca­reer, never wa­vered in his be­lief and pur­suit of ev­ery­one’s God-given rights.

“He was per­se­cuted and threat­ened, but he kept af­ter his dream,” John­son said. “Will you make that com­mit­ment, to love each other?”

Caro­line County Com­mis­sioner Wil­bur Le­ven­good said ev­ery­one is called to ser­vice for their own fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties and na­tion.

“Martin Luther King Jr. brought peo­ple to­gether,” Le­ven­good said. “In­di­vid­ual ac­tion is im­por­tant, but we can do far more to­gether.”

Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion Pres­i­dent James New­comb thanked Foun­tain and Molock for cre­at­ing the event.

“As di­vi­sive as we think things are when we watch the news, there’s more that brings us to­gether,” New­comb said. “We have to con­tinue to build that com­mu­nity like we have here in Caro­line County.”

Lock­er­man School As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Dale Brown also thanked Foun­tain and Molock for their lead­er­ship in the event, on be­half of both the school as­so­ci­a­tion and the Mary­land Eastern Shore Buf­falo Sol­diers Mo­tor­cy­cle Club, of which many mem­bers were also in at­ten­dance.

Brown said King was one of the most in­flu­en­tial fig­ures in the his­tory of both the U.S. and the world.

“His dream was a pow­er­ful one, fol­lowed with ded­i­ca­tion, faith and per­se­ver­ance,” Brown said.

Brown said, at the same event last year, he asked ev­ery­one to set goals for higher ser­vice through­out the com­ing year. He asked them to think about whether or not those goals were met, and then to do the same this year.

“Don’t just be a dreamer, but be a doer,” Brown said. “Please con­tinue to live out his legacy ev­ery sin­gle day.”

Caro­line County NAACP Pres­i­dent Berl Lovelace said it has been nearly 50 years since King was as­sas­si­nated in 1968, mak­ing events like the one held in Den­ton in­creas­ingly im­por­tant.

“There are gen­er­a­tions born since, who don’t know him as a liv­ing be­ing,” Lovelace said. “We must re­mem­ber ev­ery­one whose shoul­ders we stepped on to get where we are to­day.”

Lovelace said he had been think­ing about what it was like, liv­ing in the 1950s, ‘60s and early ‘70s.

“I will not go back,” Lovelace said. “Will you?”

Foun­tain in­tro­duced Den­ton Wal­mart Man­ager Bill Duffy, who Foun­tain said has been more than gen­er­ous, do­nat­ing food and other sup­plies ev­ery year to the event.

Duffy said he and Wal­mart are hon­ored to be in­cluded in the event.

“Wanda and Janet are very pas­sion­ate about what they want this to be,” he said.

Molock rec­og­nized all the part­ners and or­ga­ni­za­tions that came out for the event: Churches, soror­i­ties, Caro­line County agen­cies and de­part­ments, lo­cal busi­nesses, civic or­ga­ni­za­tions and schools.

The Lock­er­man Mid­dle School jazz band played three se­lec­tions.

The pro­gram at the mid­dle school closed with a prayer by the Rev. Pearl Geter of Union Bethel A.M.E. Church, who prayed that the “cords of love that bind us to­gether are stronger than the ten­ta­cles of hate try­ing to pull us apart.”

With that, the crowd gath­ered out­side the school for the march, es­corted by the Den­ton Po­lice De­part­ment, to the court­house green.

On the steps of the court­house, the Rev. Cor­nelius Berry of New Be­gin­nings United Methodist Church in Ridgely led the crowd in a song, be­fore Sammy Scott re­cited part of King’s speech.

At­ten­dees were then in­vited to Bethel A.M.E. Church.

PHOTO BY ABBY AN­DREWS

The march con­tin­ued on Mar­ket Street to­ward the Caro­line County Cir­cuit Court­house.

PHOTO BY ABBY AN­DREWS

Af­ter march­ing from Lock­er­man Mid­dle School to the Caro­line County Cir­cuit Court­house, the crowd gath­ers in front to sing and hear a recita­tion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

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