Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the breakfast held in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In conjunction with this year’s theme, “Living the Dream,” people from all walks of life were asked to share a few thoughts on the impact Dr. King had on their lives.
“I love his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. It has impelled me to attempt friendships that cross a racial divide, and to work on overcoming my prejudice and fear in those (feeble) attempts toward interracial friendship. I now belong to two mixed race churches, and I moved in town in 2008.”
— Patrick Roche
“I was working downtown in a men’s clothing store during the boycott and heard everything hateful under the sun. The owners of the store were very kind to me. The most powerful influence Dr. King had on me is that I would not let hate destroy me.”
— Barbara Tolliver Rodgers
“Martin was the person who provided inspiration and guidance to me. Without his gentle, yet strong invitation to me to live out justice in the racist and turbulent times of the ’50s and ’60s, I never would have taken the first steps to walk on the journey. I never talked to him, but I did walk with him. That was enough.”
— Richard Keil
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” Teaching! Dr. King helped me see that by working to improve the lives of young people, I was making a difference. Today, in retirement, I work part-time teaching English to international students. Dr. King said, “We arrived here in different ships, but now we are all in the same boat.” I am trying to make us all comfortable sharing that ‘boat’ even as it becomes more and more crowded.”
— June Bryant
“I learned from the life and legacy of Dr. King that God anoints us for a certain work and mission. It is up to us to receive and actively respond to that anointing.”
— Alan Hale Wicker
“There is no way I could have become a prosecuting attorney and now a practicing attorney without the efforts of Dr. King in breaking down racial barriers and raising the consciousness of America. I fully appreciate who I am and where I came from because of him.”
— Virgil Adams
“My family and I enjoy the fruits of Dr. King’s efforts. We are able to live, work and be educated by equal standards as sought by Dr. King. His legacy of love, non-violence and sacrifice are lessons that I have used and passed down to my children and grandchildren”
— Florese H. Fambro
“Yes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. influenced me to take charge of my life; not to rely on anyone to do for me that which I could do for myself. If I could not be a highway, I would be a trail. If I could not be a trail, I would be a path. In my life I would contribute to others. Dr. King told me I can be great because I can serve. To be able to serve is an honor. I want to serve my community and nation without reservation and without partiality. Period.”
— James B Hubbard
“The life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has taught me that the love of brotherhood and sisterhood looks past the color of skin and looks at the heart and character of people.”
— Kelvin Lamar
“As a freshman in college, I participated in a March from Northside Drive to Hurt Park in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was the speaker. It was an extremely cold day. However, as students, we were extremely proud to be a part of an extremely captivating movement.”
— Dr. Myldred P. Hill
“From time to time, Dr. King would refer to the Declaration of Independence when explaining his purpose and his mission. The rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness were always at the forefront, inspiring me to seek a career which would also provide for me a mission and purpose. The protection of life and property from fire and other perils is a large part of the mission statement my career in the fire service is built upon, and I pay homage to Dr. King for encouraging, inspiring and influencing me to always have a mission and purpose.”
— Chief Marvin Riggins
“Dr. King’s legacy was to secure progress on civil rights, which has enabled me and more African Americans to reach our potential, aspirations, and to have access to equal justice before the law. He accomplished these goals using the weapon of non-violent resistance available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human rights.”
— Norman Glover
“I am committed to the principles of unconditional love that Dr. King preached about. I love myself, my family, my sisters, my brothers and my enemies. I live a life of peace, possibility and perseverance, and I give thanks to God for MLK.”
— Malik Jenkins
“Where could I have mustered up enough courage as a black woman if it had not been for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr? The courage to tackle the system by running as a Republican against a popular Republican white male mayor (George Israel). This courage fostered a responsibility in my spirit to be a voice for the least of his.”
— Mable D. Jones
“He opened many doors that were closed. Also, a person who worked hard in keeping the dream alive was Billy Young.”
— Willie Smith
“Dr. King’s fight for human rights for all mankind and his moving speeches greatly influenced my life. As a United Stated Air Force veteran, my admiration for his courage in speaking out against the Vietnam war encouraged me to become an advocate for justice in my community.”
— Willie Wright
“Dr. King encouraged me to try to do the best that I could. To treat all people the same. To accomplish the best that life has to offer. To put God first, that’s why his non-violence journey was so successful.”
— Deborah Smith
IF YOU GO:
The breakfast, presented by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Committee, will be held at the fellowship hall of True Faith Church of God in Christ, 2048 Jeffersonville Road, Macon.
The breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. Nominal donations are accepted but not required.
The following poem was written by Miranda R. Turk in 1986 when she was 13-years-old and an Eighth-grade student at Rumble Jr. High School in Warner Robins.
Miranda is now the mother of two, living in Tennessee, working with early intervention for the hearing impaired.
Living the Dream
Born on January 15, 1929,
Martin Luther King was blind.
Nothing did he know about
justice and rights that day,
Nor did he know
about the world’s ways.
Intelligent he was, he skipped two grades,
But still, he started
to learn the world’s ways.
He went on to Morehouse College
and earned his B.D. Degree,
Oh what a sight for his parents to see!
King went on to be a powerful
but yet spiritual man,
He was always there
to lend a helpful hand.
His sense of compassion and
forgiveness touched many hearts,
Giving them a feeling that God
had given each of them a special part.
He shared his dream with many people,
black and white,
Encouraging them not to fight.
King so deeply devoted himself
to the movement for Civil Rights,
That he touched many lives.
He worked very hard
and was arrested
many a times, But always was he kind.
At age 35, 1964, the third Negro
and youngest man,
He received the greatest prize
ever in the nation and land.
It was the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor, a tribute too, Both to him and to you.
On April 4, 1968, a sad time came for his children, his wife, For him, though he was shot, he began a free new life.
Although many of us still weep,
We can all say he was
a drum major for peace.
“Free at last, free at last, Thank God
Almighty I’m free at last”
It says on his grave, shining in the sunbeam.
He did what most of us are afraid to do,
He lived a dream.