Continuing the Dream
Lexington gathers to commemorate life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Kara Fitzgerald
“I generally write speeches the day before I have to give them… [but] I’m sure I’ll be speaking about keeping with the spirit of the occasion and maybe a little reminiscing-talking about the challenges for the future and the present,” says Rev. Will D. Campbell, the featured speaker at the Central Christian Unity Service, commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“This is our tenth Martin Luther King service and it started with two churches-Central Christian Church and East Second Street Christian Church-working together to bring together a time of worship and to center it around the Martin Luther King holiday,” says Becky Speaks, Administrative Assistant at Central Christian Church and who works on the Martin Luther King planning committee, Disciples for the Dream, “From a small beginning it has grown to overflow audience capacity in the last two or three years. It’s been a wonderful time of being together within the various communities. Over 20 churches participated in the choir last year from various ethnic groups. Bringing people together in an atmosphere where they celebrate and trust and interact with each other is our goal.”
Each year in Lexington, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated in this community-wide worship service that pays homage to the King and his religious heritage. It’s a service dedicated to keeping his dream alive and it encourages people from all walks of life to join in the celebration, regardless of social or economic background.
On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, at Central Christian Church, people from various churches from Lexington and the surrounding communities will gather to pray and sing. A community choir comprised of diverse voices from all over the Central Kentucky region will sing under the direction of Marion Rogers. Also, the words of Dr. King’s “I have A Dream” speech will be heard throughout the church.
The Disciples for the Dream is a committee that was started by Central Christian Church and East Second Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ).
Will D. Campbell will be the speaker at the worship service and he’ll be speaking about the influence Dr. King had on his life. Campbell became a Baptist preacher at the age of seventeen. He began his career as the Director of Religious Life at the University of Mississippi, but was forced to leave because of his ardent Civil Rights participation. He went on to become a race relations troubleshooter for the National Council of Churches. He was the director of an activist organization called the Committee of Southern Churchmen and was among the most conspicuous of white Southerners for social justice in the civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s. Campbell has worked with Dr. King, John Lewis, and Andrew Young.
Rev. Campbell adds, ” We want it to be in the spirit of Martin Luther King and what he stood for and what the Civil Rights movement was all about.
It’s important for the children to come as well…especially those who don’t really think it happened, they say, ‘No there was never a time when colored and white was written on drinking fountains and bathrooms.'”
The Rev. Will D. Campbell is currently a pastor in Tennessee. He is still an active lecturer and author. He has written over 16 books including Brother To A Dragonfly, which was named by Time as one of the most notable works of nonfiction of the 1970’s and one of the top ten books of 1977 by the New York Times and it also won a Christopher Award and the Lillian Smith Book Award, The Glad River, which won the Friends of American Writer first prize for fiction in 1982, Providence (1992), Cecelia’s Sin (1982), God On Earth (1983), The Stem of Jesse (1995), And Also With You (1997), and Soul Among Lions (1999).
Campbell has been the subject of magazine profiles in Life, Rolling Stone, The Progressive, and Esquire. He has received the Alex Haley Memorial Award for Literary Distinction and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Tennessee American Civil Liberties Union.
Selected Martin Luther King, Jr. commemorative activities
January 13, 2000
An African-American Story, Tar Beach, A Quilt Story 10:30-11:15 a.m. Lexington Children’s Museum (258-3253)
7th annual African-American Ball
8 pm – 2 am, Continental Inn Hall (255-2653)
The 10th annual MLK Unity worship service will be held on January 16 at Central Christian Church at 6pm.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Unity Breakfast 7:30 a.m. Patterson Ballroom at the Hyatt (reservations 263-8819) Tickets are $12. Coach Tubby Smith.
Lexington’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. activities (co-sponsored by the University of Kentucky and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government) will be held Monday, January 17. The annual march begins at 10 a.m. from the Lexington Civic Center. Dr. Na’im Akbar, psychologist will speak at 11.
Transylvania’s Unity Celebration
7 – 8 p.m., WT Young Campus Center, featuring WTLA Gospel Ensemble.