MLK events touching

Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

By By MaryClaire Foster
For probably the first time in my life, I was the only white person in the room on Sunday. Add to that the camera I was holding, and to the casual observer I’m sure I would have been easily spotted, but in my mind, and from the actions of the others there, I felt completely welcome.
There was Zion Star A.M.E. Zion Church where the Progressive Civic and Recreational Club held its annual event in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Similarly the day before, I attended the Concerned Citizens Annual Prayer Breakfast in honor of Dr. King. There I was not the only white person in the room, but one of four, clearly making us the minority, again something that has not happened often in my life.
Then again I was one of only a handful in attendance at the parade Monday morning and at the service following.
Not one time did I feel uncomfortable because of my race, not even when while relaying the history of civil rights.
I am well aware of who those white people were, but they are not me.
Regardless of my race, I would have still been in the minority at all of these events, some more significantly so than others, because I was also always one of the youngest people in the room.
Something, along with being one of only a few white people at these events, should be changed.
No, I cannot understand the struggles Dr. King and other black people have gone through to get our country where it is today, but I can appreciate it, and should do so with my fellow citizens of all races, ages and religions.
I can not say that if it had not been for me being their for the newspaper I would have attended, actually I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have, but like so many experiences this job has afforded me to have I am so thankful to have been a part of all the events.
Not only am I white, but I am Catholic and growing up church was nothing like what I experienced this weekend. Church to me is passionate, but a passion that is more personal and reserved.
Attending these events was a whole new experience. There was clapping, singing, hallelujah-ing and other outcries of agreement and encouragement.
I grinned like an idiot the whole time I took pictures. While there is an obvious fervor and passion, there is also intense respect in these services.
I am so thankful to have been a part of these events and witnessed a different culture inside of my own city. I plan on making a conscious effort to continue to take part in events that celebrate people of all colors, and I hope next year that the celebrations will show unity not only in the black community, but in the entire community.
MaryClaire Foster is news editor for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox