Biden speaks of redeeming America’s soul during a visit to Martin Luther King’s hometown church
On Sunday, President Joe Biden ascended the stage at the illustrious Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached a number of stirring and moving sermons in the last years of his life.
On what would have been the late civil rights pioneer’s 94th birthday, Biden on Sunday became the first sitting president to deliver a sermon from the pulpit of the downtown Atlanta church thanks to an invitation from Ebenezer pastor and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. The subject of Biden’s address, which parallels King’s fight for Black people’s equality, was the difficult road that must be traveled in order to make critical reforms.
Biden claimed that even though King passed away at the age of 39, his legacy lives on because he maintained his optimism despite realizing that progress was never simple. Before his murder on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, the founder of the civil rights movement delivered stirring lectures and proclaimed the need for social change through peaceful means throughout numerous cities.
On Sunday, Biden spoke about some recent racial and social accomplishments, such as the appointment of Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court justice. The president also asked people to emulate King’s behavior as the fight for justice continues.
There is always a potential that things will become better as we move toward a more ideal union, Biden said. However, at this critical juncture, we are conscious of the fact that much work remains to promote economic justice, civil rights, voting rights, and democracy protection. I also bear in mind that it is our duty to rebuild America’s soul.
On Monday, state and federal offices will be closed in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. There were numerous occasions to will celebrate in her honor over the weekend, and there will be many more on Monday. State lawmakers and family members gathered at the state Capitol on Friday for Georgia’s 39th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Service, which took place close to the house where King was raised.
In order to present the keynote speaker, Georgia Power CEO and President Chris Womack, former Columbus Democratic Rep. Calvin Smyre, who returned to the Gold Dome while awaiting confirmation as the United States ambassador to the Bahamas, took the podium.
Smyre was instrumental in declaring King’s birthday a state holiday in 1984 and garnering support for a statue honoring him on the Georgia Capitol grounds in 2017. Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns commended Smyre for his accomplishments. King’s name was omitted from the state law that established the holiday in 1984 in an effort to quell criticism. Prior to the United States Congress designated the third Monday in January as a federal holiday in honor of King the year before, attempts to establish a state holiday in Georgia had failed.
King’s dream is still unrealized, according to Womack, a Black man who was appointed CEO and chairman of the state’s major utility firm in 2021. This is despite the Declaration of Independence’s 1776 dictum that “all men are created equal.” Businesses should continue to diversify their workforces and give basic requirements to people in need, according to Womack, as part of his plea to preserve King’s legacy. He declared, “We must not accept that state as a reality. “That condition cannot be left untreated, we must say.
Womack stated, “We must work together with folks who are attempting to help, whether it’s food kitchens, shelters, or a need for additional housing.” We must not accept reality for things like homelessness. In our community, we must set objectives that we’ll fully eradicate.
The state’s celebration included the presentation of several awards. Executive of Forest Park Wanda Okunoren-Meadows received the Rita Jackson Samuels Founders Award; civil rights activist J.T. Johnson of Albany received the Andrew J. Young Humanitarian Award; Alabama’s Rev. Fred Taylor was given the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery Civil Rights Award; and Columbus, Georgia, Democrat Sen. Emmanuel Jones received the John Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award.
The declaration for King’s holiday was also given to King’s grandniece Farris Christine Watkins.
A year before King was assassinated, a Harris national poll found that 75% of Americans disapproved of him. Many moderate whites in other regions of the country resisted full integration and equal treatment of Black people, as did supporters of the Jim Crow laws in the Deep South.
At the Friday service for those affected by the tornadoes that ravaged Georgia the day before, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp prayed. A five-year-old boy and a Department of Transportation worker who was attempting to clear a road were killed by the storm.
Kemp stated that King experienced racism, bigotry, and threats against his family and added that his message of racial equality and moral responsibility still resonates today. Kemp asserted that he sees the racial advancement in Georgia as a legacy of the civil rights activist, who overcome so many challenges.
Every year, Kemp added, “we observe this occasion to commemorate Dr. King and his teachings, to honor his contributions to our state and country, and to remember his goal, his heroic deeds, and his inspiring message.” To remember the man is to think about the man, and we each need to think about how we may continue his eternal legacy in our own special ways.
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