DeKalb remembers King legacy during celebration

Remember. Relive. Retell.

Hundreds of elected officials and members of the DeKalb County community attended DeKalb County’s “36th annual MLK Celebration” honoring the late civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.

Guest speaker Rev. James “Major” Woodall, president of the Georgia NAACP, described King as “a drum major for justice, love and peace.” He spoke about how to remember the legacy of King and our ancestors and move forward in the “fierce urgency of now,” the theme for the celebration event.

“First, we must remember. Then we must relive. And then we must retell,” said Woodall.
“Remember those that came before us who built our communities, who were in those closets praying for us while we were in the streets. Those who gave us yet another chance to get it right. Remember who we are in this moment.”

He encouraged spectators to “relive” by suspending judgement of others and not being distracted by fancy things and people. Instead, he urged the community to hear the voices of the average person trying to make it day by day as did King in his fight for civil rights. The ultimate legacy of King, said Woodall, is to tell the story so that future generations can continue the legacy of King and their ancestors.

“This generation isn’t lost. We’re bringing an army of believers who know what it actually means to fight, not afraid to take a stand for righteousness and stand for justice, not afraid to take an opportunity to tell the world who we are,” Woodall said. “Our children will holler out in our memory because we didn’t give up. We stayed true. We fought the good fight and ultimately we won.”

Claire Sterk, president of Emory University, and Eugene Walker, former Georgia senator and former DeKalb school board chair were recipients of the Nathaniel Mosby Award. Mosby was a former DeKalb County commissioner and public servant.

Eugene Walker speaks to crowd after receiving the  Nathaniel Mosby Award. (Photo by Asia Ashley)

“A few years ago, we decided to present annually an award in his name to men and women and others who have made such a profound and lasting impact to our county and nation,” said DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond before presenting the awards.

The program concluded with a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” by trumpeter Milkshake Mayfield.




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