Under sunny skies and to the trumpet tune of “We Shall Overcome,” around 50 people marched from Sacred Heart Church to the Municipal Building on Monday as part of a celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
After a service at the church, which included a short movie on the civil rights movement, singing and prayer, participants walked up Third Street to Osage Avenue, some carrying signs that read “Live the Dream” and “Walk by Faith,” to the Municipal Building where another short service was held. After a group song of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” True Vine Church of God and Christ Pastor W.T. Morris was honored for his nearly 40 years of service to the northside of Sedalia.
During her remarks, local historian and president of the Sedalia chapter of the NAACP Dr. Rhonda Chalfant told the crowd this was “a decade of remembrance” and pointed out several important anniversaries, including the 150th anniversary of the civil war, the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education which desegregated schools throughout the country, the 50th anniversary of King’s March on Washington and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.
“George Santayana said ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ It sounds trite but we do need to remember our past,” Chalfant said. “If we knew our nation’s history would we be as apathetic? Consider that slavery still exists as human trafficking. That civil rights are still denied to people. Dr. King’s dream has not yet been fulfilled, the table of brotherhood is still often segregated.”
Chalfant challenged those in attendance to “actively seek to change those things that we can” and to continue King’s legacy in working to obtain equal rights for all.
“We need to work actively to change those things that are still with us,” Chalfant said. “Dr. King deserves our continued commitment to honoring his legacy.”