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Crowd celebrates achievements of King, president at luncheon

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — The McLaurin Steppers bring the crowd to their feet with one of their step routines they performed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the “I Have a Dream” Youth Luncheon Monday in the Natchez Convention Center.

NATCHEZ — The spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. filled the Natchez Convention Center as hundreds celebrated King’s legacy as President Obama made history.

“We’re here today to celebrate history as history is again made for the second time,” said Darrell White, director of the Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture Museum. White spoke to the crowd at NAPAC’s annual “I Have a Dream” Youth Luncheon.

BEN HILLYER / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Destiny Addae gives a inspirational using her fingers to show how many times President Obama has been elected.

Youth of the Miss-Lou celebrated King’s birthday by presenting songs, dances and speeches to the crowd, which watched President Obama’s inauguration events on a large screen in the back of the room.

Destiny Addae, a youth member of Antioch Baptist Church, brought the crowd to their feet as she shouted praises that people of all colors could live King’s dream.

“Praise God the door of opportunity is open to all of God’s children,” she said.

Addae asked the crowd to stand on their feet and celebrate the second inauguration of President Obama.

“Stand up on your feet for not once but twice, not once but twice for the president of these United States,” Addae said. “Free at last, I can taste the sweet victory of the mountaintop.”

The luncheon’s speaker, Khambre Chanel Davis, a 20-year-old student at Central Louisiana Technical and Community College, said knowledge is the key to excelling in life and all improvements start with self-improvement.

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Bertha Jackson, Peggy Scales and Margaret Johnson from the Natchez Senior Center Choir sing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” during the “I Have a Dream” Youth Luncheon Monday.

“The most important asset you have is right under your nose…it’s simply you,” Davis said. “Don’t let negative self talk keep you from your desire to achieve.”

Your thoughts are energy, Davis said, that will drive you to succeed.

“Dr. King’s thoughts gave him the energy to do the things he did,” she said.

Davis concluded her speech with a favorite quote from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

“‘This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring,’” Davis said.