Saturday, January 18, 2003

Recalling the man and the dream



By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Rev. Calvin Harper of the Morningstar Baptist Church prays after a wreath was placed at the King memorial.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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Slick, snow-laden sidewalks and a biting wind didn't deter a group of 20 blacks and whites from marching Friday morning to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Reading Road to commemorate the civil rights leader.

The march kicked off the 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial March and Ceremony at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The event, themed "Living the Dream," was sponsored by UC, the Health Alliance and the Baptist Ministers Conference of Greater Cincinnati and Vicinity.

The marchers left the UC College of Medicine about 11 a.m. and sloshed their way to the memorial on Reading Road, where they sang hymns, said prayers and recited snippets from some of Dr. King's most famous speeches.

[photo] Clotield Walker of Springfield Township bows her head in prayer Friday at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on Reading Road.
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At noon, dozens of people gathered inside Kresge Auditorium to hear speeches, songs and the presentation of scholarships and awards.

David Xu, a 27-year-old medical science student from China, said the event represented an opportunity for him to learn about a man he had heard of but did not know much about, except that there was a street named after him.

"I'm not really familiar with his story, but I want to learn," he said. "He sounds like a man with a spirit that everyone can learn from."

Elizabeth C. King, dean of the College of Allied Health at UC Medical Center, said Dr. King left us with "a legacy of hope and some unfinished business." She talked about his commitment to change through peace, and his belief that education was "the great equalizer."

"He understood that words were powerful and that they could hurt or they could heal," Ms. King said. "He believed peace was not merely the absence of tension, but the presence of justice."

The Rev. Carl DeMeritt, a board certified chaplain at University Hospital, narrated a slide show recounting the Rev. Dr. King's life. He encouraged the audience to "address the inequities we see around us every day."

Meanwhile, Dr. Keith Melvin delivered a message about the importance of making a difference.

"When I die, will it matter whether I was born?" he asked. "That is a question that every one of us needs to ask ourselves."

E-mail kaldridge@enquirer.com




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