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Celebration fit for a King: Local church honors civil rights leader's life, message

To hear history tell it sometimes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., only made one speech.

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Bishop O.H. Lakey makes a point during the King banquet.

And there's a reason for that, according to Bishop O.H. Lakey, the Presiding Bishop of The Sixth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech, delivered one warm August day in 1963, embodies a much more important message, Bishop Lakey told more than 100 people gathered for Vanderhorst CME Church's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet Saturday night at The Depot.

The speech shows that "What the world gives us, the world can take away," Bishop Lakey said.

He used the story of Joseph from the Bible to illustrate his point. Joseph's brothers threw him into a pit and took the coat of many colors given to him by his father, Jacob.

But in that pit, Joseph held on to his dream.

"God gave him something internal, and He gave him something eternal," Bishop Lakey said.

And it was that dream that carried Joseph through his slavery in Egypt. Although Joseph was at the bottom of the social stratification, he performed each job as if he was a king.

"You cannot do that unless you have a dream," Bishop Lakey said. "Dreams keep captives from being slaves. ... Only you can make yourself a slave."

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Dennis Clark of the Sensational Six sings during the banquet. Mr. Clark, Rev. Darryl Burns, Tyrell Gibson, Billy Lott, Jr., William Harris and Charlie Harris make up the gospel group.

He also had a message for today's African American families. It is time to stop arming children with materialistic items and prepare them for life in today's society, he said.

"We believe if we give our children the things of the world, it would cover up their insecurities, their self-doubts, their short-comings," he said. "But we forgot no matter what we put on our children when we send them out the door, peer pressure will strip it off. Violence will strip it off. Drug pushers will strip it off. Bad education will strip it off. A racist society will strip it off."

And he closed his remarks with a challenge to those in attendance.

"Dream on, dream on, dream on!" he said.


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The Rev. Ella Smiley Samuels sings during the banquet.


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Zelda Jones of Warrenton plays the piano.


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The Rev. Vernon White of New Hope CME Church in Sharon, Ga., tapes Bishop Lakey's speech.




Web posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005











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