La Crosse area remembers Martin Luther King

2013-01-22T00:00:00Z 2013-02-11T21:15:42Z La Crosse area remembers Martin Luther KingBy PATRICK B. ANDERSON | panderson@lacrossetribune.com La Crosse Tribune

He practiced nonviolence. He advocated for workers’ rights. He was assassinated as a civil rights leader, a martyr for his dream.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s day isn’t just about celebration, but about an active pursuit of his elusive dream, said Dr. Andre Johnson, a civil rights expert who spoke Monday at Viterbo University for the annual MLK Community Celebration.

“To stand on the side of the dream is to stand with the poor and the marginalized and to see the world from their vantage point,” Johnson. “To stand on the side of the dream is to stand for nonviolence in all spaces and places.”

Johnson is an author and researcher specializing in the civil rights movement. He serves as the Dr. James L. Netters Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Religion and African American Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary.

Johnson recounted King’s journey through the civil rights movement - from the positive messages of his earlier speeches to the more pessimistic speeches he gave in later years, including his speech condemning the Vietnam War.

King’s dedication to peace was rooted in his Christian beliefs, and while he navigated the public political scene, he was more than a politician or a preacher, Johnson said.

“He was a prophet, because the prophet is always getting us to move a little bit harder,” Johnson said. “The prophet is always getting us to do a little bit better.”

Part of the community celebration’s goal is to remind area residents that achieving King’s dream requires continued efforts, said Dempsey Miller, who helped organize the event.

“Constant work and constant practice,” Miller said, “and not let that dream die.”

The event also included performances by the Viterbo Choir and the 9th Street Singers, a small choral ensemble.

Actors portraying King and Malcolm X performed a scene from the play “The Meeting,” about a fictional encounter between the two civil rights leaders.

Central High School student Omar Jandal accepted an award for his essay about King’s dream speech.

Retired professor Dr. James Parker accepted the 2013 MLK Leadership award. In 1969, Parker created and taught the first African-American history class at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

“Fifty years ago, King said the time is now,” Parker said. “And let me repeat that to you. The time is still now.”

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. Summer
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    Summer - January 22, 2013 8:38 pm
    No thanks, the good ones are very few and far between!
  2. Greenlight
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    Greenlight - January 22, 2013 7:04 pm
    I laugh at the picture of the choir filled with white late teens and early 20 yr olds who have been indoctrinated in the pop culture liberal progressive educational system that preys on the emotion of the young. I have little against MLK, he did some great things, but he also was used by JFK and the dems to gain a political position.
  3. FUBAR
    Report Abuse
    FUBAR - January 22, 2013 6:08 pm
    Assistant Director of the FBI Charles D. Brennan wrote a letter to Sen. John P. East (R-NC) in which he stated that King's conduct consisted of "orgiastic and adulterous escapades, some of which indicated that King could be bestial in his sexual abuse of women."
  4. Clara Fying
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    Clara Fying - January 22, 2013 6:06 pm
    LAXTEA, do some reading of sources that aren't bigots. This is a lie. Here's the truth:
    Abernathy acknowledges in his autobiography that King had a "weakness for women" and indulged in extramarital affairs, but makes no mention whatsoever of "drunken sex parties" or prostitutes, and explicitly denies that King had dalliances with white women. Furthermore, Abernathy writes, far from being physically abusive, King was "always gracious and courteous to women."

    http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_martin_luther_king.htm

    Snopes says the same thing, and so do other neutral sites.
  5. LAXTEA
    Report Abuse
    LAXTEA - January 22, 2013 5:45 pm
    Johnny, do some reading. King's buddy Rev Abernathy admitted it in his book. Everyone knew about it except this generation that swallows the establishment narrative.
  6. Johnny A
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    Johnny A - January 22, 2013 1:06 pm
    Thanks for bringing up the letter, FUBAR. A letter is a good example of unsubstantiated hearsay. I can write anything I want in a letter -- doesn't mean that it's true.
  7. Johnny A
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    Johnny A - January 22, 2013 12:10 pm
    The allegations of MLK's hiring prostitutes and beating women appear to be unsubstantiated hearsay. If the FBI had evidence of this activity while they watched him, they would have thrown King to the wolves. As far as a politically powerful man like King having extramarital affairs, well gee, I've never heard of that happening before! MLK was a flawed man, but is rightly known as a man who advocated peaceful change.
  8. Lefty
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    Lefty - January 22, 2013 10:29 am
    I can't celebrate this man. Hypocrites never have appealed to me.
  9. olderthandirt
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    olderthandirt - January 22, 2013 9:55 am
    Funny how this man is honored for his "DREAM" even though it was that MEN were equal. He was a woman beating adulterer, that now has his own holiday.Only in America.
  10. FUBAR
    Report Abuse
    FUBAR - January 22, 2013 7:50 am
    The encore performance by the choir was called "MLK used woman as punching bags" ... in b minor of course.
  11. LAXTEA
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    LAXTEA - January 22, 2013 7:05 am
    Maybe they could have had a victim rights advocate speak about the women King beat. Or ethics experts talk about the church funds King spent on hookers even the night before his assassination! Or the ethics department could weigh in on the famous speeches and doctoral works of King's that were undeniably plagiarized.

    Or would that not fit the narrative? Wake up sheeple!
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