By Riley Manning
TUPELO – There was plenty of love in the heart of the city Monday, as citizens from across the community gathered to remember and pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The program, hosted by the Modern Beautician Club of Tupelo, packed the Christian Life Center of St. Paul United Methodist Church.
“First of all, let’s acknowledge that we have made it over hills and mountains, we have come this far by faith,” said Truth Trinity Church pastor the Rev. Linda Walker in her invocation. “Let us give thanks for things being as well with us today as they are.”
Indeed, the high-spirited program invited hand raising and foot stomping, in what Modern Beautician Club Chaplain Delores Lagrone called “a good, old-fashioned celebration.”
The Rev. Gloria McKinney, pastor of St. Paul, gave the message, emphasizing why it was important to remember those who paved the way to where we are today.
“We have to keep telling the story,” said the 28-year educator. “The unknown story, an untold history, will lead to a lost generation.”
The solution to breaking the dividing barriers between people, she said, is to love, to see everyone as a creation of God.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’ll get there together with the greater love, peace, and respect for all mankind,” she said.
For the present, though, she challenged people to renew their passion for change.
“Ask yourself, ‘Have I finished what I set out to do?’” she said. “Stay on the path Dr. King started for us. We’ve been talking about the dream for years. Stay on fire so we can all come up out of the dust together.”
With the help of attorney Kenneth Mayfield, the Modern Beautician club awarded three scholarships to recipients Darrell Hadley, Ericka Hubbard, and Kelsey Ray Agnew.
Mayor Jason Shelton spoke to the crowd on his commitment to diverse leadership.
“When the president of the United States declared this day in rememberance of Martin Luther King, he didn’t do it for one race, one gender, or one political party, he did it for the entire United States,” Shelton said. “We will continue to work until we are one city, one voice, working together for civic and economic progress for all citizens.”