Miss-Lou celebrates memory of Dr. King

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 15, 2001

As a child Mary Woods remembers sitting at her grandmother’s knee and listening to stories about the past.

Now an active member of the Natchez chapter of the NAACP and a teacher, Woods wants to pass those same stories and the dream of famed civil rights leader the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to other children.

&uot;If I can just touch one child and … make them understand what this dream was about,&uot; that is my dream, Woods said.

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Woods was one of several speakers at a memorial tribute service Sunday for King at Greater New Zion Baptist Church.

The service included music, praise and reflection on King’s life.

Natchez residents Charles Sanders, Michael Winn, Edward Reed and the Rev. James Stokes spoke at the service, and the Adams County Mass Choir performed.

Reed, the assistant principal at Morgantown Elementary School, urged the crowd of about 50 to pass their &uot;great tapestry of history&uot; down to the younger generation.

&uot;We must understand that Dr. King and these men and women sacrificed careers, families and even their very lives all in the name of freedom,&uot;&160;he said.

The world today is full of violence that King would not like if he were alive today as he would rather us love our neighbors, Reed said.

&uot;In doing so we can pass a legacy to our children of a great people who prospered and feared God,&uot; Reed said.

Many of the speakers gave references to King’s great work and his ultimate sacrifice – his murder in 1968.

&uot;We who honor him today truly thank God for such a courageous, selfless champion, who gave his life serving others,&uot; Reed said.

Many of the speakers encouraged the community to keep King’s dream alive, even into the future.

&uot;We’ve got to keep our marching shoes on,&uot; Winn said. &uot;There’s danger in the land, and that danger is complacency. We’ve got to keep them on because there is much to be done.&uot;

Winn said King would be pleased with the gains of African-Americans since the 1950s and 1960s but &uot;we’ve got to remain vigilant. We’ve got to remain in tune with God.&uot;

The community should also not let money go to their heads, Winn added.

&uot;The question is how far do we have to fall before we as a people rise again,&uot; Winn said.

The service concluded with final remarks from Rev. Jim Stocks, president of the Natchez Chapter of the NAACP, who said he would like to see changes in Natchez especially in its elections. He also said he would like to see local ministers &uot;putting forth more effort&uot; in the struggle for equality.