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January 18, 2005 > A celebration to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A celebration to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A day on, not a day off

The Afro-American Cultural & Historical Society (AACHS), with the support of the First Presbyterian Church of Newark opened the doors of the church on Sunday afternoon, January 9 to the public to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

After an introduction by Ms. Rhianna Green of presiding officer, Ms. Gwendolyn Estes of the New Haven School Board, Mayors David Smith of Newark and Bob Wasserman of Fremont extended their greetings. Dr. Sonjia Parker Redmond spoke of her childhood in the South during the tumultuous 60's - times of Civil Rights Marches and racial violence. For many in the audience, these personal recollections were a reflection of their own experiences while others, too young to have witnessed these events, were given a glimpse into the feelings and fabric of Dr. King's legacy.

Mrs. Bernadine Dutra was invited to speak and recounted her early years struggling with poverty and self-esteem. She and her husband, former state assemblymember, John Dutra were warmly greeted by the crowd.

Featured speaker, Rev. Horacio Jones, Pastor of Fremont Bible Fellowship in Newark gave a passionate and stirring speech asking people to consider the motivation and reason we pay tribute to the life of the Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He spoke of the need to be compassionate while understanding what is inherently right while focusing on ideals and actions that will live beyond a human lifetime.

Musical tributes were moving, evoking standing ovations, and included choirs from the South Bay Community Church Children's Choir, Fremont Bible Fellowship Choir of Newark and the First Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Choir. Other musical performances included Miss Barbara Horn, Mrs. Eunice McGee and Glenda Squire, flautist and Margaret Bellisomi, organist.

AACHS members Mr. Usua Amanam, Mr. Everett Boone, Mrs. Peggy Farman and Mrs. Freida Green hosted a reception following the event.

Acknowledgement was given to the event committee: Dr. Carl Engstrom and Session, facility; Mrs. Nancy Eady, Mrs. Freida Green, Publicity; Mrs. Mary Walker, Programs; Mrs. Heather Hellman and FPC Youth Group, Visuals; Mr. John Swenson, Techinical Assistance; and a special thank you to Mrs. Jean Ficklin, Program Coordination.

The AACHS will host the Thirty-First annual Black History Month Observance on Saturday, February 12, 2005 from noon to 7 p.m. at Newark Community Center, 35501 Cedar Blvd., Newark. This year, the theme will be "The African Diaspora."

Excerpts from "I Have a Dream"
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968)
Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
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