The 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Unity Walk drew a crowd Friday, Jan. 15th. Unfortunately, the weather caused those who attended the event to be taken to the historic courthouse by buses instead of walking the path from the church to the courthouse.
The two-part event began at the historic Bank Street AME Church on East Fifth Street and proceed to the historic Logan County Courthouse where a program was held upstairs. This year’s theme was “Reconstruction Revisited.”
Local historian and civil rights leader Charles Neblett opened the morning with song, telling those in attendance that was one way those who fought the injustices during the 1950’s-60’s civil rights movement managed to get through.
“We sang,” said Neblett. “We sang from cell to cell. And we thanked God.”
Neblett told those who came to the courthouse- many of them students from both the Russellville and Logan County systems- that the march is held to “remember” the past. To “remember” all those who stood up for the wrongs that in the day were looked at as rights.
“We stood up against what was law at the time, because it wasn’t right,” said Neblett. “You have to stand for what is right.”
At the event, the 1963 speech was played which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave in Washington DC. An excerpt of that was as follows:
This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”
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