PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech inspired change in a country deeply divided. Today, his push for a united community is coming to fruition through those hoping to spark even more change. Dozens gathered in Pikeville to reflect on what his legacy means to them.
They marched through downtown and they listened to several speakers including a powerful delivery of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech by Pastor Justin Preston, "Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow...I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream, I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed."
It is a dream turned to a legacy.
Pastor Gene Layne, Jr. Says, "It is a people's holiday, for everyone, not just blacks, for everyone to enjoy freedom, equality, and justice." He adds, "The message Dr. King spoke was the same message that Jesus taught, that all mankind are created equal."
They say Dr. King's legacy is much more than a stand against racism but is a lesson in unity, a message students at Big Sandy Community and Technical College plan to live out in today's society.
Dimitri Bien-Arme says, "We need to work together, my generation...as brothers and sisters. We have a new fight today, it is not only about racial fights...it is about are we going to overcome all things that confront us today as people."
A message that 51 years later, continues to inspire all people to overcome obstacles.
This was the first year for this event and organizers say they are already looking forward to making it bigger and better next year.
The celebration was put on by BSCTC and the local Church of God Militant, Pillar, and Ground of Truth.
MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - By: Angela Sparkman
Dozens of people filled Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Middlesboro to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Several speakers recalled their lives in Bell County before and after Dr. King's fight for civil rights.
"Dr. Martin Luther King, he had more courage than I did although I served 20 years in the military, but he served his time out here, all over the United States and overseas, but he took more a beating than I would have taken," said Wallace Wade.
"He was a great man, and he was a man of non-violence and that's the important thing. and the thing about Martin Luther King, he never gave up, 'cause if he gave up, we wouldn't be where we're at today," said Ricky Washington.
The group Friends of Lincoln School, Inc. honored the youth at the program.
"It will encourage our young people to understand what the people before us went through," Washington said.
They encouraged them to seize opportunities and go to college. They awarded scholarships to 14 high school seniors.
"It will help me pay for things and keep everything together," said Amanda Biscardi, one of the scholarship recipients.
"And this will encourage them to try and do better than what we had did because they have more tools to work with than what we had when I was growing up," said Washington.
They believe education will go along with the service's them, "Holding on to the Dream."
State Representative Rick Nelson and Middlesboro Mayor Bill Kelley also spoke to the youth during the program.
The service also included a moment of silence for the four young girls killed in the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15th, 1963.