Throughout the nation Monday morning, people in large cities and hamlets took to the streets for a symbolic march to commemorate the life and legacy of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gadsden County was no different as marches were held in Quincy, Havana, Chattahoochee and Gretna.
Since 1986, when the holiday was first observed on a national level, Gretna has held its symbolic annual march without interruption. Gretna, according to Mayor Clarence Jackson, was the first city in Florida to hold a celebration in recognition if King’s contributions to the United States and the world.
About 50 people joined the march from the newly dedicated Helen D. Franks Community Center to Gretna Elementary School, where a commemorative celebration was held.
The Rev. Fert Richardson was the guest speaker. His rousing delivery and insightful take on Dr. King’s memorable “I Have a Dream” speech had some in the audience on their feet applauding.
“What are we dreaming? Are we dreaming anything?” he asked.
“Dr. King was dreaming of ways to better help all of America. He was dreaming that one day we would all be judged by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin,” he said.
“King had a dream and that’s what he worked for,” Richardson said, adding “but if you’re dreaming of glitz and glamour, you’ve got a problem. Because what you dream is what you’ll work to achieve.”
He asked members of the audience to think of King and work to eradicate those things that are detrimental to the community. He reminded parents that they have a duty and responsibility to set positive examples for young men and women.
“There is nothing redeeming about a young man wearing his pants below his behind. Nobody is going to hire you for a job worth having if that’s how you come looking for a job,” he said.
“There are some people who think that the dream was all about us. Dr. King said we’re all Americans and the dream was about all of us: white, black, red and yellow, he said.”
Following the program guests enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs.