The idea of taking action drove the celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. Day throughout Ardmore on Monday.
Celebrations of King’s life began with a parade down Main Street followed by a program at the H.F.V. Wilson Community Center.
“We had a great turnout and I hope it continues to grow in the future,” the center’s new executive director, Angela Adams, said.
Guest speaker Dr. Jeannette Davidson spelled out her message for the Ardmore community — action, righteousness, dedication, morals, optimism, radical and excellence — seven words that make up the acronym ARDMORE.
It was the first Martin Luther King program for Adams in Ardmore.
“It went amazingly well. The support from the community has been great,” Adams said after the program.
The MLK Youth Mass Choir and the Vision band performed musical selections.
“We will hopefully be able to come together to celebrate Dr. King and his message and to come together over what he stood for,” Adams said.
Community in Schools also helped with the program, providing AmeriCorps workers to pass out programs and organize the children.
CIS/AmeriCorps worker Katy Hazelton is a junior at Take Two Academy and read a portion of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
“(King’s speech) meant a lot. It’s what changed everything to how it is now. We are able to have a community center, and not black-only, white-only. I’m able to have the friends I have now,” Hazelton said.
Her favorite part of the speech is the finale, “When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
“He is like, everyone come together. We can all come together and not worry about what fountain to drink from,” Hazelton said. “I think it’s important because all the races are allowed to go to school together, and it wasn’t always like that. It’s important for everyone to know how that came to be.”
Monday’s festivities concluded with a service at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, presented by the African-American Cultural Enhancement Committee.
The program featured Ardmore youth reciting the “I Have a Dream” speech, facts about King and inspirational poetry. Youth readers were Makenna Moore, Madisen Moore, Serenity Cohee, Je’Liyah Plummer, Antonia Rodriquez and Makayla McGee.
“Just to see those kids get up and the hard work they put in to the speech was great,” committee co-chair Mary Johnson said.
Page 2 of 2 - Speaker for the program was Langston Unitversity events coordinator Deshnick Lewis.
“It’s our time to make Dr. King’s dream a reality,” Lewis told the crowd.
It was his first time to speak in Ardmore. He spoke optimistically about the future of Ardmore and the country, pointing to the night’s young speakers.
“I hope that they understand that they can do anything they put their mind to and that they can dream and do anything,” Lewis said.
Jennifer Lindsey, 221-6536