MLK celebrations continue

Published 5:10 pm Sunday, January 15, 2012

Standing in front of a framed picture memorializing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sharayna Johnson reads his famous speach, "I Have a Dream," Sunday afternoon at New Order Missionary Church.

With Martin Luther King Day only hours away, groups in Atmore continued early celebrations of the holiday Sunday afternoon with the 26th annual Progressive Civic and Recreational Club service.

This year’s service was held at the New Order Missionary Baptist Church just of Woods Road in Freemanville. PCRC President Herbert Payne said it was important to club members that they celebrate King’s life at a church rather than in a secular venue.

“Immediately after congress passed the law making Dr. King’s birthday an official holiday, the PCRC decided to use the third Sunday in January to honor this great man,” Payne said. “We could have used a gymnasium, but we decided we needed to use a church.”

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Sunday’s service kicked off at 3 p.m. with scripture readings and prayers from visiting pastors. Following a welcome from Payne, New Order congregation member Sharayna Johnson read aloud King’s famous speech “I Have a Dream.”

During the occasion portion of Sunday’s ceremony Robin Kidd said King’s sacrifices should never be forgotten.

“He gave up so much time with his family for the fight for our rights and yours,” Kidd said.

As she spoke of King’s life she emphasized his belief in justice through quotes recorded during his time in jail in Birmingham.

“Someone asked him why he came to Birmingham,” Kidd said. “He said to them ‘I’m in Birmingham because injustice is here. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

Sunday’s service honoring King concluded with a sermon from New Order Pastor Sidney Grant.

The celebration will continue Monday morning at 10 a.m. with the 2012 Martin Luther King Day Parade. The parade route will begin at Houston Avery Park with lineup at 9 a.m. and will conclude at Escambia County High School.