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The Dream Lives: Stanford, Lincoln Co. celebrate MLK Jr. Day 2020

STANFORD — Stanford and Lincoln County participated in the nationwide commitment to ensure that Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream never dies.

While the Lincoln County Courthouse was closed for the federal holiday, there was a gathering on the front steps as the community hosted the 2020 commemoration and celetration of the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year’s theme was “The Strength In Our Past Gives Us Faith In Our Future.”

The three-part event began with a program on the courthouse steps. Mistress of ceremonies Sandra Hill welcomed those braving the 19 degree weather to participate in the program. After a musical selection by a community choir, Reverend Dennis Miller gave a scripture reading. The short program was closed with a prayer by Reverend Reginald Pullums.

Marchers moved from the courthouse steps to the street following the prayer to begin the the second part of the event – the walk from Main Street then up along Danville Avenue before turning onto Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

Only a couple dozen marchers bundled up to make the march to First Missionary Baptist Church. But those few joined a full house as they entered the sanctuary of the church for the third portion of the day’s program.

Dr. Rev. Phillip Yates, pastor of Little Zion Baptist Church of Harrodsburg, was the keynote speaker.

With a crowd mixed with young and old before him, Yates stressed during his message that it was up to the older generation to keep King’s dream of civil and economic rights and an end to all racism in the United States alive.

“We have to keep the dream alive,” said Yates, who referred to King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963. “The people of my generation, those that are my age or older, understand the struggle that we came through.”

“They’ve labeled us as boomers, but the millennials have only what we tell them and share with them to keep the dream alive. They haven’t experienced what we have experienced.”

Yates said that the day’s theme was “so appropriate, so well placed in this day and time that we live in.”

“He (King) said, five score year ago, 100 years ago, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by then President Abraham Lincoln and then he said, ‘100 years later Negro is still not free,” said Yates. “I look back and I see 57 years ago since that speech  that he gave in 1963 … and I ponder how far we’ve come. Not since the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, but since the speech that he gave there at the Lincoln Memorial. How far have we come?”

And Yates answered himself.

“I’m going to take a statement from the Virgiia Slims people, ‘We’ve come a long way baby.’ But we’ve still got a long way to go,” he said.

The day’s program, which was coordinated by Barthenia Brown, included a welcome by Ollie Raglin, First Lady of First Missionary Baptist Church, the lighting of a memorial candle by William Brown, the introduction of city and county officials by Judge Jim W. Adams Jr., the introduction of Yates by Sara Givens and thanks read by Germani Crosby.

There were several musical selections presented by the Boneyville Baptist Choir and, after a benediction by Elder Robert Coulter, the choir and those in attendance joined in the singing of “Reach Out and Touch Soebody’s Hand.”