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Morning Sun
  • A day to remember

  • A program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in song, dance and poetry was presented Monday at the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center, Fort Scott Community College.

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  • A program honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in song, dance and poetry was presented Monday at the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center, Fort Scott Community College.
    Robert Nelson gave the welcome and opening prayer.
    “This is a great day, celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the inauguration of a president,” he said. “It was the life of Martin Luther King and those like him who make days like this possible.”
    Speaker was the Rev. George Proctor, pastor of United Missionary Baptist Church, Fort Scott. His talk was titled “Looking Back....Stirred Forward,”  and he shared his own meeting with Dr. King.“I grew up in Chicago, and I  was in a big parade in my Boy Scout uniform,” Rev. Proctor said. “Dr. King was in the same parade, which emptied out in Washington Park. Usually people left when the parade was over, but this time they waited for Dr. King to come to the park. He came right up to me, looked down at me and asked me, 'What's your name?' I said my name was George. He asked if I was in school and I said yes. Then he asked how I was doing in school and, having the kind of parents I had, I was able to say I was doing good in school.”
    King then told the youngster, “Whatever you decide to do, do your  best,” and shook his hand.
    “I was amazed how soft his hand was,” Rev. Proctor said. “He accomplished great things in the midst of the greatest adversity this nation has know, and everything he did was done to non-violence.”
    He  noted that some now say that Dr. King did not preach the Gospel.
    “Dr. King did more than that, he lived the Gospel,” Rev. Proctor said. “We look back, but if we look back and are not stirred, we have missed the point. We are called to meet the challenge of making sure our children are safe in this great country, and that we come together as one people under God.”
    The program also included the work of several fifth grade poets who had participated in a program to write poems on diversity.
    “These youngsters did their poems in class, and came up with deep thoughts for someone so young in life,” said Jill Warford, director of the Gordon Parks Museum and a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee. “I don't know if I could have done this well when I was in fifth grade.”
    One young poet was Christion Ashe of Eugene Ware Elementary School, who called for people to stop fighting and start uniting.
    “If I had lived back then, I would have done things to fight for our freedom,” he said after the program.
    Page 2 of 2 - The program also included selections by the Fort Scott High School Select Ensemble, a solo by Willetta Proctor of “If I can Help Somebody,” one of  Dr. King's favorite songs, a song by the United Missionary Baptist Church Choir and a praise dance by Clara Barner and LaTonya Morton.
    “Clara and LaTonya have done this every year we've had this celebration,” Warford said.
    Other activities planned in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and of Fort Scott's own heritage include a showing of the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize,” starting at 9 a.m. today; “Fort Scott African-American Heritage - Prof. E.J. Hawkins,” noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday; and “MLK Open Mic Night” at 7 p.m. Thursday, open to presentations by persons of all ages, with cash prizes given.
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