BY ANDREAS BUTLER
It was fitting that the local events commemorating Black History Month ended by honoring one of the most recognizable African-American historical figures ever, civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Trumpet of Conscience: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Speaks” took place at Master’s Domain Church of God in Christ on Feb. 29. The event featured King’s speeches with musical selections sung by the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Children’s Choir under the direction of Mrs. Constance Poitier.
The performance highlighted the youth, with Campbell Middle School eight-grade students Demond Noelien performing “The Selma March” speech and Yakira Moore reciting “I Have A Dream.”
“I felt good. It was a great experience. It wasn’t my first time doing a speech, but it was my first time doing one of Dr. King’s,” said Noelien.
“Dr. King went through a lot more stuff than I knew about. I think it’s really important that we remember him and honor his work and legacy because if we don’t, people can easily forget.”
The event was presented by the Daytona Times. It was co-sponsored by Daytona Beach Zone Three City Commissioner Quanita May and 623 Management, Inc.
Struggle in South Africa
May was the only elected official in attendance. She said the King speeches reminded her of her childhood.
“I’m from South Africa… while you were fighting your struggles here, we were fighting our struggles on another continent,” she told the audience.
“In my country, I’m considering colored. We were not accepted by the White community or the Black community. It was a third race of people that existed. We couldn’t marry anybody but other coloreds,” she remembered.
“I still have family and friends in South Africa, but I feel fortunate and blessed that I can run for office…. In my own country, I would never have had this opportunity.”
Daytona Times and Florida Courier Publisher Charles W. Cherry II also portrayed King in the event, performing the last Sunday sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta entitled “The Drum Major Instinct.” King was murdered two months later.
“This event was a dream of mine for some time. I hope we can make a tradition in the Daytona Beach area, especially with the participation of our youth.”
Elijah Hunt recited Dr. King’s last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” which was his last speech.” Local radio personality Larry Steele was the performance’s narrator.
Those who attended the event enjoyed the performance and the history.
Dr. Connie Mitchell told the Times, “It was an awesome performance. I think the kids did a great job. It was also a very informative and educational event.”