This coming Monday, April 4 marks the 54th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The citizens and the government in Anne Arundel County have honored King in many ways since his tragic death.
The only memorial in the State of Maryland to King is located on the Arnold campus of Anne Arundel Community College.
His wife was honored in 2011, with the Coretta Scott King Memorial Garden located in Edgewater. That dedication made the front cover of Jet Magazine.
The iconic Civil Rights Foot Soliders Memorial, which bears King’s image is located directly across from the Arundel Center in the People’s Park.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Committee holds its memorial gathering each year, organized by the groups chairman, Eugene Peterson, and treasurer, Erica Matthews. The breakfast was held virtually this year, but the group recently did have its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner in person at the Westin Hotel.
This Saturday at noon, at the Susan Campbell Park downtown, many organizations are expected to join the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, including the United Black Clergy of Anne Arundel County, Caucus of African American Leaders, the NAACP, and scores of others.
Kudos to Josephine Brown, Darius Stanton, Phyliss Tee Adams, and David Stansbury for their efforts over the years to put on this parade, which was first suggested by Priscilla “Pat” Montague.
A shout out to Juanita Cage Lewis who for years portrayed Coretta Scott King in the parade.
Ironically, one of King’s greatest sermons is entitled, “The Drum Major Instinct.”
If you have not heard it, Google it and you will understand why more than five decades later, his memory is being honored with this parade.
The murder of King was one of the most consequential events in my life. I remember exactly where I was when he was murdered – standing on the corner of West Washington and West streets.
A Black teenager on a bicycle shouted, “They have killed Dr. King.” I couldn’t believe it. It later was confirmed by a news broadcast over WANN radio.
Now, more than five decades later, a parade in the city honors his memory. It is hard to describe what his death meant to my generation. Suffice it to say that it remains a painful experience.
I am sure that there are those who believe that he has already been honored enough; after all, there is a national holiday in his name. My response to that assertion is that we could never honor him enough.
There are martyrs and then there are transformational leaders. King was both.
When the people line up along the streets of Annapolis to watch the parade, I particularly want the youth to know that their grandparents, parents, and people’s lives were made better by a man who had a dream and whose death became a nightmare for my generation.
As we approach the midterm elections, it is my hope that people will remember what King once opined, “If you live in America, the greatest march you can make is the march on the ballot box.”
Watch the parade and remember a man, a movement, and a moment in history that must never be forgotten.
For more information call David Stansbury at 443-336-7313.