One of the most powerful moments during the 14th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Memorial Celebration at First Corinthian Baptist Church came in the form of a simple gesture. As the capacity crowd of all colors joined voices to sing “We Shall Overcome,” one at a time they linked hands, creating a human chain across the church.
“Love can change hearts, overcome evil. Love conquers hate,” the Rev. Dr. Nathl Moore, of the Historic First African Baptist Church in Lexington, preached from the pulpit only minutes before.
It was a message sent by many of the speakers at the worship service and celebration for the civil rights leader, including the Rev. Dr. L.A. Newby, of First Corinthian Baptist Church, who had the opportunity to walk with King when he came to Frankfort in March 1964.
“We marched up Capital Avenue, 10,000 blacks and whites demanding equality,” Newby remembered. “(King) fought to bring us all together.”
State Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, questioned whether King would be proud of how far the country has come or think we haven’t come far enough.
“We have made progress in five decades, but we are not where we need to be as a society,” Graham said. “We cannot change history, but we all have the power to change the future.”
The lawmaker encouraged folks to help one another, speak out against injustice and work toward a greater good.
It was a sentiment echoed by Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells, who praised the work being done by the Frankfort-Franklin County Ministerial Association, which hosted the event, and Focus On Race Relations: Frankfort, a volunteer group addressing race issues in the capital city.
Wells stressed the importance of helping others and making a difference in someone’s life.
“There are 364 more days in the calendar, so don’t leave this day without doing something to make it better,” he said.