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Dr. King’s real legacy
by Amanda Sexton Ferguson, Editor and Publisher
Jan 24, 2014 | 93 views | 0 0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Monday afternoon, I enjoyed the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration program at the Montgomery County Courthouse. As is my experience each year at this event, the music and speakers were inspiring, and I was proud to see the courtroom overflowing in capacity.

During the program, soloist Sherri Forrest Jenkins, a Winona native and a pastor from Memphis, Tenn., sang the song, "Lord, Lift Us Up Where We Belong" and she noted one particular line in the song: "You see some hang on to what used to be; stop living your life looking behind."

This line resonated with me as well. I often dwell on the "remember whens" when my energy would be better spent on creating future possibilities.

Mississippians have always celebrated the state's rich history, from the Blues Trail to the Country Music Trail to the preservation of the state's historic homes and structures to last year's groundbreaking of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson. We embrace our history - all of it, good and bad.

Mrs. Sherri Forrest Jenkins' song also reminded me of a famous quote. Edmund Burke said, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., preached about possibility, about his dream of a future where all Americans could come together in peace and harmony. "I have a dream that my four little 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," he said.

King dreamed of possibility, and then set forth to make that dream a reality. King led with the future in mind, but he never forgot the struggles of the past.

What is that old adage? You don't know where you are going unless you know where you have been.

Monday's program from the music to Rev. Mark Williamson's keynote address held that common theme - never forget the past, but move forward and strive for a better future.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an extraordinary man and leader who led an extraordinary life, and he continues to inspire Americans decades after his death.

In looking back at King's life, the very heart of King's legacy is much greater than his pursuit of equality for all Americans. In actuality, King is proof that one person can truly change the world.
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