Music, sermon stir audience at celebration

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Music, prayers, speeches, a rousing sermon and memorial tributes marked the official 14th annual Martin L. King Jr. Memorial Observance CSRA on Monday at Beulah Grove Baptist Church.

 

Greetings were given by Beulah Grove's pastor, the Rev. Sam Davis; Augusta Commissioner Bernard Harper; Imam Mohamad Alhomsi, Dr. Jim Cruickshanke, the CEO of St. Joseph's Hospital; Rabbi Robert G. Klensin of the Congregation Children of Israel; and Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver,

Mr. Copenhaver told the crowd that as he was leaving a breakfast earlier in the day, a reporter asked, "Are we living the dream in Augusta, Ga.?"

"And my answer to the question was, 'We are beginning to live the dream in Augusta, Ga.,' " Mr. Copenhaver said.

"My goal is for Augusta, Ga., to be the living embodiment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream, and I know working together we can and will get there."

The mayor said he was committed to working with the Rev. Larry Fryer to get a King statue for Augusta.

The keynote speaker, the Rev. Frank K. Kennedy Jr., pastor of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Lanett, Ala., had the crowd of more than a thousand on its feet with his sermon about the importance of being authentic and the need everyone has for "a lifetime guarantee of roadside assistance."

The program included a special commemoration for James Brown and memorial tributes to Coretta Scott King; Rosa Parks; Barbara Thurmond, a co-founder of Augusta's Blacks Against Black Crime Inc.; Pat Jones, the director of the Augusta Youth Center; Juvenile Court Judge Herbert E. Kernaghan Jr.; longtime State Court Judge James E. Slayton; and longtime Richmond County school board member B.J. Annis.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.