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Dr. King ‘wanted us to move from chaos to community’

Rev. Dr. Reginald Davis (above left) was the keynote speaker at the 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast on Monday at Immanuel Baptist Church in Saluda. Looking on next to Rev. Davis is master of ceremonies Vincent Carter and minister Davelin Gresham, president of the Middlesex NAACP. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

“Then and Now . . . Keeping the Dream Alive” was the theme of the 10th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast held Monday, January 19, at Immanuel Baptist Church, Saluda. The event was sponsored by Middlesex NAACP Chapter 7091. 

Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Reginald Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, brought audience members to their feet several times during his moving speech. He appealed to the audience to work to create community from chaos.

“We need to be more responsible with our resources and live within our means, and stop buying what we want and begging for what we need.” —Rev. Dr. Reginald Davis

Rev. Davis drew parallels between Moses’ death and the death of Dr. King in 1968. “When a great leader dies it creates a great void and apprehension among a people . . . chaos sometimes ensues and confusion sets in.”

Without leadership, direction, plan and vision, and “certainly without God, the people perish,” said Rev. Davis. “We don’t have to look too far to see we are perishing as a people. Regardless of the small success of a few, by and large, black America is in a crisis.

“Now I want to acknowledge that there has been a change since the 1960s Civil Rights struggle. But there is a difference between a change and a correction. Not every change is a correction,” Rev. Davis emphasized. “Until the system of oppression is corrected, a change cannot be made without correcting the problem.

“Having a black face in public office won’t correct the problem. Having a black man in the White House won’t correct the problem. We must correct oppression . . . and the system—not just make a few changes,” said Rev. Davis.

Dr. King tried to correct oppression, said Rev. Davis. “King insisted that unless America puts an end to the triple threat of poverty, racism and militarism, these triple evils will put an end to America.”

King was just 39 when he was assassinated, Rev. Davis pointed out. “He would often say that it is not how long a man lives, but how well he lives that matters. The bullet that took his life, could not take his witness. His light still shines. His dream is in the hearts of freedom-loving people all over the world.”

Rev. Davis quoted Robert F. Kennedy, who said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lots of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” 

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 01.21.2015

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