• 63°

We must be open to diversity

While Ironton has always been ahead of the diversity curve over the rest of the Tri-State, there have still been barriers between the white and African American communities here.

Case in point. One can meet some Irontonians in their 80s who can remember going to an integrated Ironton High School. Yet until the 1950s the city’s swimming pool was off limits to blacks except on Mondays. Then it was drained the next day.

Another way the two races have been putatively separated has been in churches, where integrated congregations are almost non-existent.

Now a group of community activists are making the first steps toward breaking down that discriminatory barrier and in the name of one of the greatest civil rights leaders — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

That will be in a special service today at 4 p.m. at the First Church of the Nazarene in Ironton.

“This will be a true community service where all denominations come,” Rob Hale, pastor of the church, said. “We’ve had a hard time getting denominations together in the past. Dr. King said the most segregated hour in America is Sunday morning. We hope this will be a catalyst to bring us together for unity in the community of Ironton.”

So do we. Christianity is based on the concept of inclusion, where no one is rejected.

What a way to start the celebration of the legacy of Dr. King by practicing in church what the great man preached.