New Castle News

January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Annual event marks civil rights leader’s influence

Lauren Rearick
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — One congregation welcomed the public to remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with smiles, praise and prayer.

Approximately 100 attended First Presbyterian Church’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. service. Yesterday afternoon’s event featured speakers, songs and religious-themed reflection on King’s life.

Keynote speaker, the Rev. Clarence Tucker of St. John Holy United Church, chose to “Celebrate the Dream,” encouraging those in attendance to keep King’s dream alive.

“We’re all Americans, regardless of our color or religious denomination, even if sometimes we may not feel it,” Tucker said. “It’s a shame when you’re on the streets of New Castle, and you see one another that you can’t speak to one another.”

Recalling the protest song, “We Shall Overcome,” Tucker reminded attendees that they would overcome any adversity in their own life, just as King had worked to overcome those in the 1960s.

“This anthem offered courage, comfort and hope,” Tucker said. “It was a dangerous idea at a time of segregation.”

The idea of overcoming was reinforced with a congregational singing of “We Shall Overcome” and a reading of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from Andrius Walker Jr., a youth member of the New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ.

Praise opened the service with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and the singing of the national anthem by fellow Church of God in Christ youth member Jeniya Brockington. Elder Charles Roberson of Church of God in Christ served as master of ceremonies.

Local officials were also in attendance with Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo giving a welcome to the city and celebration message.

 “Working together we can keep King’s dream alive,” Mastrangelo said.

The Rev. Arthur Holloway of the St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Zion reflected Mastrangelo’s sentiments in his own remarks.

“Do you have a dream because we’re the benefactors of King’s dream?” Holloway asked. “We still need to have a dream. We need to dare each other to dream, and to dream big. What a wonderful place, what a wonderful world this will be when we all dream.”