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With an interpretive dancer from Anointed Blood performing in the foreground, soloist Priscilla Ariori of the Down by the Wayside Choir sings at Sunday's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute at Lincoln Hills Christian Church in Corydon. (Photos by Alan Stewart)

Message of two Kings, one message of love


January 21, 2009 | 08:19 AM

As was noted several times Sunday at the 23rd annual Ecumenical Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute at Lincoln Hills Christian Church in Corydon, much has changed in the last 220 years when it comes to the treatment of African-Americans in the United States.

In 1787, blacks were considered three-fifths of a person.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the freedom of slaves.

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The Rev. Kevin Mallory of Mauckport United Methodist Church listens to the Lincoln Hills Christian Church Praise Team perform during the prelude to Sunday's MLK event.
In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

And yesterday, millions of Americans watched as Barack Obama was sworn in (on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building) as the first African-American president of the United States .

But while MLK Tribute founder and organizer Jewel Brown of Central said she is glad and proud to see the first black president, she said ultimately the advancement of the country will come when no one notices the color of the president's skin.

"For us, it doesn't matter who is president. I wish him luck, but we celebrate today not just because he's black, but because he's human. We would celebrate this day if the president was a Republican, Democrat, man, woman, yellow, purple or whatever," Brown said. "Today's service is not just about Martin Luther King; it's about joy and peace and love and loving one another.

"Today, we are able to get together in Corydon, on a Sunday, under one roof, and we are not segregated. That's what gives today a special meaning. It's not about one man, but all men."

Indeed, the purpose of the annual King Tribute is to bring all kinds of people together to remember the goals of the eloquent civil rights leader and martyr, and honor his dream of freedom, justice and equality for all Americans. Before the crowd started filing toward two food lines, Brown estimated between 350 and 400 people were in attendance, which she said would be close to a record.

The keynote speaker was the senior pastor at LHCC, the Rev. Webster Oglesby.

Oglesby intertwined King's speech with several passages in the New Testament, pointing out that both King and Jesus Christ spoke of love for one another.

"Dr. King and Jesus both spoke words of love, not only for their people but for people of their nation and the world," Oglesby said. "God uses individuals for His purpose. And a man with a dream and willingness to sacrifice everything, to take it to a reality, those are the types of men people will follow. In those days, (King's) dream seemed to be bigger than life itself."

Oglesby said in today's society, which tends to focus on self more than others, people tend to complain about how they are treated.

"They say, 'I was treated like this' and 'I was treated like that.' Let me tell you, no one was mistreated more than Jesus," he said.

In the closing segment of his address, Oglesby made note of Obama's feat.

"This week, a man with black blood and white blood will be the 44th president of the United States. Whodathunkit?" he asked.

The afternoon started with a performance by the LHCC Praise Team and brief introductions from the Rev. Scott Hill of Corydon Presbyterian Church and St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church's Jessica A. Brown, who is Jewel's daughter.

The Rev. Kevin Mallory of Mauckport United Metho-dist Church gave the invocation, followed by a scripture reading from Hill.

After the Down by the Wayside Choir from Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville performed, Pastor Tonya R. Burris of St. Paul AME gave a powerful speech about freedom and respect for all people in which she said, "Regardless of the skin that wraps us on the outside, we are all one people on the inside."

Heaven Bound, a country Christian gospel group made up of Dennis and Kathy Lyons of New Salisbury and Reuben and Shirley Raisor of West Point, Ky., performed "Amazing Grace," with Reuben Raisor leading on harmonica.

Jessica Brown touched on highlights of King's famous speech as well as recited the poem, "We Remember," then the Wayside Choir, including soloist Priscilla Ariori, performed Marvin Sapp's gospel hit "Never Would Have Made It Without You," which also featured young choreographers from Anointed Blood of Louisville.

Jewel Brown closed the evening's performances with the gospel tune "His Eye Is on the Sparrow," which was performed at the request of Callie Zimmerman of Corydon.

Click for photo gallery

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    mlk
    January 21, 2009 | 08:40 PM

    I would have liked to see more phots of performers. This was a joy and privilage to be a part of!

    Reuben Raisor "HEAVENBOUND"
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