Monday, January 15, 2001
King's lessons remembered
Injustices, racism remain, congregants told
By Cindy Kranz and Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer
On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Tristate church-goers and school children evoked the civil rights leader's memory by apologizing for past discrimination, celebrating his words and re-emphasizing his dream.
Lamont Washington performs one of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's speeches at the Christ Church Cathedral Sunday.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
When he delivered his famous I Have A Dream speech on Aug. 28, 1963, the Rev. Dr. King talked of his hope for equality. Yet nearly 38 years later, racism still thrives, church-goers were reminded Sunday.
In Greater Cincinnati, race relations are simmering over a series of perceived injustices, including the deaths of 13 African-Americans in Cincinnati Police custody since 1995. The ACLU and a local lawyer are preparing two lawsuits that allege racial profiling by city police.
And so, if the Rev. Dr. King were alive on his 72nd birthday today, Tristate residents said Sunday, he'd still be working to fight injustice.
He'd still be pushing to take the ceiling off of corporate America, said the Rev. Dr. Taylor T. Thompson, pastor of Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Forest Park. He'd still be pressing for a quality education for everyone, for fair housing.
A snapshot of how the Tristate remembered the Rev. Dr. King on Sunday:
It was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday at Quinn Chapel, where Minister Walt Baby Love, a nationally syndicated radio host, gave the sermon.
His show airs from 3-6 p.m. Saturdays on WAKW-FM (93.3)
Minister Walt "Baby" Love
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
While the Rev. Love concentrated on another of his heroes, Jesus, during his passionate sermon, he talked later about what Dr. King would think of race relations today.
I think he'd be appalled, said the Rev. Love, one of more than 30 pastors at First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles. I think he'd do the same thing that God let him do before organize people of all races, creeds and colors.
Church members agreed the Rev. Dr. King's work is unfinished. No matter what you do, said Wanda Ware, 60, of Forest Park, some people are going to keep their prejudices and biases.
You start with our children and try to teach them that everyone is equal, she said. Not everyone does that. That's where prejudice mostly comes from their parents.
The Rev. Dr. King would be happy with progress made in race relations, but it's still not where he envisioned it, said Erik Packard, 19, of Forest Park.
I think people have lost sight of his dream, said the Clark Atlanta University sophomore.
Apologies for prejudice
It wasn't billed as an event for the Rev. Dr. King, but it coincided with his dream of equality and respect for all people, regardless of skin color.
On Sunday, the First Unitarian Church in Avondale and Northern Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Wyoming acknowledged discrimination against a black Unitarian minister and his West End congregation in the early 1900s.
The Rev. Dr. Morris Hudgins of the Northern Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship participates in a reconciliation service.
(Gary Landers photo)
| ZOOM |
The churches held a joint service to apologize to the descendants of the Rev. W.H.G. Carter, a minister who founded the Church of the Unitarian Brotherhood in Cincinnati in 1918.
Following the service, gravestones for the reverend and his wife, Beulah, were dedicated by the Carter family and Northern Hills Fellowship at Beech Grove Cemetery, Wyoming.
Starita Smith, a great-granddaughter of the Rev. Mr. Carter, flew in from Denton, Texas, to see the gravestone dedication and accept an apology from the congregations on behalf of her family.
But racial reconciliation should not end at Beech Grove Cemetery, Ms. Smith said.
A weekend like this is just one step, she said. It's a start.
"We shall overcome'
Inside the Aronoff Center for the Arts downtown Sunday afternoon, the newest generation passed on what they have learned about the Rev. Dr. King.
Students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grades from the Marva Collins Preparatory School in Roselawn and Silverton recited speeches and sang about non-violence, civil rights, peace, justice and freedom.
But racism by blacks and whites still exists, said the kindergartners in teacher Nichole Means' class.
Every parent at some time faces the problem of explaining the facts of life to his child, Brandi Kelly, 5, recited.
But racism should not be tolerated, their speech went on, concluding: Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
And the group sang: We shall overcome ...
Address for dreams: Martin Luther King Drive
King's lessons remembered
MLK Day events in the Tristate
Corpses abused for photos
Fired officer reinstated to desk job
Tristater helps manage Bush transition
WILKINSON: Voinovich can't catch Cabinet job
Davis becomes second woman to lead NAACP
Economist: N.Ky. growth slipping
Hospitals stanching flow of red ink
Most parents back their teen drivers
Database to track all Ohio students
Mason land seizure rejected
Students find help at Lakota
Tech tools to aid lessons
You asked for it
At Ohio State, faculty members take longer to find than coaches
Crowd of 350 people protest shooting by Louisville police
Legislators tussle over committees
UK slows search plan for president