Amidst blustery conditions Sunday, more than 50 people assembled in the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Jamestown for its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gathering.
The yearly event to mark King's birthday (Jan. 15, 1929) led to a packed West 23rd Street church, and included remarks from Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi and state Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean. Also present were Vince DeJoy, Jamestown city councilman; state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Chautauqua County; and county legislator Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown.
"I remember being a little girl and being struck and saddened by what had happened," Young said of King's assassination in April 1968 in Memphis, Tenn. "There is this lasting legacy of Dr. King that we still see and remember today."
Keith Blake, of Jamestown, watches as several essays are read Sunday in the Emmanuel Baptist Church to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
P-J photo by Eric Tichy
Said Teresi, "We are here today not just for remembrance but to honor Dr. King. He was one of the most transformational figures in human history. His actions truly spoke louder than words."
Teresi, who officially proclaimed Monday as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Jamestown, said celebrating the iconic figure in the city has become one of his favorite traditions.
"This is one of the most important events we have here in the city of Jamestown," the mayor said. "I want to thank you for keeping this tradition going."
In between gospel and essays reflecting the civil rights leader, a video of King's famous "I have a dream" speech was shown; various black and white news broadcasts of King's death in 1968 also echoed throughout the church.
"It's important to keep Dr. King's dream alive and to make sure his work is continued," said organizer Vickye James. "It's an honor just to be able to do this."