Rev. Bobby Bacon of the New Antioch House of Praise told the marchers at about 10 a.m. on Monday why they still choose to march on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“We march to keep the dream alive … We march because we are still captive by injustice,” Bacon said. “We march because we are people of destiny. We march because we are a people of purpose. We march because we are a people of promise.”
Dr. King’s work for freedom and justice isn’t finished, Bacon said, adding that his philosophy was based on the Bible, and that he believed that all are created equal. He quoted some verses from Genesis.
Dr. King, Bacon said, wanted equality for all Americans, and thought that peaceful marches would do more to make that happen than violence. Marching was his way of protesting all wrongdoing, added Bacon.
“Our nation was built upon the principles of equality. But hatred has infiltrated the very structure of our society. That is why we’ve got to keep marching,” Bacon said. “We’ve got to keep marching.”
After Bacon spoke about the march’s importance, 75 people walked through a light rain to march from the school parking lot to Bloomfield Missionary Baptist Church. Like in previous years, they marched along Main Street to the Trigg County Justice Center, then walked up Jefferson Street to the church.
Robert Morris Cunningham was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the church, but he was in hospital and couldn’t make it. Rev. Kenneth Wharton of Rocky Ridge Baptist Church took his place.
“His struggle wasn’t just black and white, his struggle was about us coming together. Jesus Christ died for blacks as well as whites,” Wharton said. “We got to realize that this isn’t about Democrat and Republican, this isn’t about black and white, this is about a community coming together to help somebody and to make a difference in Trigg County.”
During his speech, which was centered around Phillipians 4:10-13, Wharton said that through Jesus, Trigg County can overcome any struggle. He noted that Paul wrote some of his letters from jail, as did Dr. King.
Wharton also said that it is vital never to forget where you come from. “I never forget this place called Cadiz, because you never forget where the Lord puts you … If we’re ever going to overcome the struggle, we got to go back to our roots.”
The Cadiz & Trigg County Community Choir sang several gospel songs during the service, which started not long after 11 a.m. Many community leaders and government and school officials were at both the march and the church service.
Genesis Express President Bobby Acree said that Genesis Express has been around for 24 years, and that Bloomfield Missionary Baptist Church has let them use their facilities for 15 of the 16 years that there has been a march.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader who emphasized non-violent protest and civil disobedience in the late 50s until his assassination in April 1968.
He marched for equal rights and also spoke out against poverty, income disparity and the Vietnam War.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is on the third Monday of the month because he was born on Jan. 15 in 1929.
A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career.
He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King’s efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means.
He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.