The processional started at Mt. Salem Baptist Church, located appropriately on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. In addition to being the start of the march, the church’s steeple was being placed back on the roof Monday.
The crowd at the Jones County Courthouse did not appear to be as large as in previous years, but those who attended did not let that dampen their passions in the least. Bishop Joe Ridley started the celebration with a song as only he can, and the keynote speaker was Pastor Gregory Lofton of New Damascus Baptist Church.
The speaker noted that he was the beneficiary of the work of King and others that took place in the 1960s. He said he feels in some ways individuals are standing divided and falling together.
“We stand on our denominations, gated communities, and even the ‘hood’. As a nation we have fallen because we are losing our young people. Tolerance is the word of the day. Tolerance means everything goes; what we need is grace,” he said.
Lofton said the nation is hung up on entertainment.
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