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Annual Duquesne program keeps King's message alive

Michael DiVittorio
| Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, 10:45 a.m.
Nyzeir Wright, Cornell Brownfield, and Tayshon Brownfield  pantamime to the song 'Riverside'
Nyzeir Wright, Cornell Brownfield, and Tayshon Brownfield pantamime to the song 'Riverside'
Nathanial Mosley Jr, age 10, sings 'I beleive I can Fly' in the style of R. Kelly.
Nathanial Mosley Jr, age 10, sings 'I beleive I can Fly' in the style of R. Kelly.
Rev. Edward Robinson shares his experience of segregation on a bus trip south in full military uniform.
Rev. Edward Robinson shares his experience of segregation on a bus trip south in full military uniform.

An air of unity filled Macedonia Baptist Church in Duquesne for Phyllis Wheatley Literary Society's annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Saturday.

Church leaders fromDuquesne and neighboring communities talked about what King meant to them, and the impact he had on society.

King was a baptist minister and civil rights leader whose actions and message shook the American consciousness in the 1950s.

“It shook the minds of the people about problems of racial inequality, justice and freedom,” the Rev. Timothy Caldwell, president of Miracle Temple Evangelistic Ministries, said.

In his keynote speech, Caldwell talked about the relationship between whites and blacks from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries, and about violence and uprisings between the two races and within the African-American community.

Caldwell noted King's emphasis on social change and the church's role in making change happen.

Among King's many honors was the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, He played a key role in ending the legal segregation of African-Americans in the south and other parts of the nation.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tenn., where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers.

The Rev. Edward Robinson of Macedonia Baptist Church told how he was discriminated against in the 1950s when he returned to the United States after the Korean War.

Robinson said he was on a bus headed south from Seattle, Wash., when the incident occurred. He said he could not believe it happened while he was wearing his uniform.

He said King fought to make sure those types of situations don't happen.

“We have to realize that he did it because of God, that we might be able to come together,” Robinson said. “Come together, not divide, to be as one. That's what Dr. King wants us to do. That's what God wants us to do.”

Society president Marlene Wallington said Saturday marked the fifth year for the celebration at the church at 17 Chochran St. Monday is Martin Luther King Day.

“We've gotten more and more people on the programs, and they're from everywhere,” Wallington said. “This year we have all males on the program, young and old. We wanted to celebrate the holiday, and this is what we usually do to try to do our part. So many people come.”

“We've been doing this for several years now,” event co-chair Ernestine Broadwater said. “We ask our members and ask people in different churches in the community for their input concerning Dr. King, and something encouraging to the young people about their lives.”

Calvina Harris served as Broadwater's co-chair.

Speeches and prayers from were accented by electric performances by the Payne Chapen AME mimes, 19-year-old Macedonia Baptist Church mime Hasaan Allen of McKeesport, the Macedonia Youth Chorus, Boys & Girls Club of Duquesne, and Sir Zyon Edwards Cox, who played drums with keyboard accompaniment by Angela Perrin.

Bryant Knight sung an a cappella version of “He Looked Beyond My Faults.”

Duquesne Elementary fourth-grader Quinton Moon delivered a speech about how President Barack Obama gave him hope of success in life.

“Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run,” Quinton said.

Broadwater took notice of the many teens and young people who participated and attended the program.

“We have to teach (about King) at home and we do that here so that they can remember and know where they came from, and how great we was to get us this far,” Broadwater said. “We've been through so many trials and tribulations they don't know about. They think everything's nice and easy. We want them to see that and to appreciate what's going on.”

Larry Hanson provided a black history presentation based on the book “Black Chronicle.”

The Rev. George Williams of First Baptist Church in West Mifflin was master of ceremonies.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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