A Dream Alive
“Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said.
Monday night, the Mains Rotunda at Ohio University Southern campus in Ironton was filled with a mix of race, ages and genders all there to remember and focus on the same dream, the dream of a beloved community.
At OUS’ 20th yearly celebration of the life and work of King, began with a message from Dean Bill Willan.
“Our purpose in honoring Dr. King is to be reminded of the great cause for which we labored is not finished,” he said. “Our purpose is to remind ourselves to keep laboring.”
Charles Jarrett, associate professor of sociology, spoke, with the help of OUS student Troy Allen. Jarrett spoke about what King meant by “the beloved community.”
“I’m always involved and happy to be involved in this program,” Jarrett said. “I hope people go away with a sense of pride, a sense of renewed hope. The theme of this project is beloved community, so maybe we can all work a little harder to make Ironton a beloved community.”
Jarrett said he has lived through the Civil Rights movement and thinks great changes have been made in the country, but that there are still more changes to be made.
J.D. Crockrel, of Christ Temple Church in Ashland, Ky., reminded people of the life and work of King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, whom he described as “a woman determined to keep the dream alive.”
The ceremony also included singing and a presentation of awards for an essay contest, followed by the litany of commemoration, presented by Rev. James H. Stowe, Jr., pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church in Ironton. Stowe resides in Xenia. He was honored to be a part of the ceremony.
“I’m here to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” Stowe said. “He focused on the beloved community, meaning the world cultures all have something to share with each other, the beloved equality of all of God’s people.”
“I thought it went very well,” Willan said after the event. “I think it’s important to remember the struggle for civil liberties continues. The struggle for a better community continues. There is still injuries, poverty, war, ignorances. We still have great opportunities to make the world better and events like this remind us and help motivate us to do better.”
Faye Blankenship, 75, and Wilma Fox, 81, both of Ironton, have attended all 20 of the yearly events to honor King.
“I believe in King’s philosophy, equal rights for all,” Blankenship said. “There are not as many participants as there was in the past, so that disappoints me.”
“It’s not quite as big as it used to be, but it’s something we need to keep up,” Fox added.