Workshop extols the life and legacy of Dr. King

YOUNGSTOWN — The power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life was that he inspired people to mobilize around a dream, and if the children of the Mahoning Valley are to secure its future, they need a vision, too, said the Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II.

The Rev. Mr. Macklin was co-convener with Rabbi Joel Berman of the Martin Luther King Planning Committee of the Mahoning Valley, which sponsored the 24th annual community workshop Monday celebrating King’s life and legacy.

King, born Jan. 15, 1929, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts to create a nation of equality rather than segregation. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tenn., where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city. He was 39.

The local workshop, called “The Time is Always Right To Do What is Right,” was conducted at First Presbyterian Church, 201 Wick Ave. The Timekeepers Drum Corps and Flagline started off the meeting with several rousing routines, and Jazmine Strothers, an eighth-grade pupil at Legacy Academy of the Arts, read an original poem, “Wake Up.”

If the people of the Mahoning Valley are to achieve King’s dream of a “beloved community,” they must have a vision and work together toward its realization, said Mr. Macklin, pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church on the city’s South Side.

The civil rights leader was an evangelical who believed deeply that Jesus was the savior and the way to salvation, said Kirk Noden, lead organizer for the local Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods (ACTION) and workshop keynote speaker. He wrote a thesis on the last two years of King’s life.

King’s definition of a “beloved community” is one that is integrated, socialist and inclusive, in that everyone is involved in the decision-making process; rooted in the parenthood of God, where people assume responsibility for each other and that any injustice done to one is an affront to God; and Christ-centered, Noden added.

He said it frustrates him that King is known by most people only for his “I Have A Dream” speech, because he was much more.

King was a “tremendous intellectual and radical and visionary leader,” who in his later years said that the United States was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, that the white Christian church is more white than Christian and that blacks need power, Noden said.

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