Durham, NC (WTVD) — Martin Luther King Jr.’s long holiday weekend provides plenty of time to ponder and reflect on the role his bravery played in the civil rights struggle. Proponents who successfully lobbied to approve a national holiday are encouraging people to consider a day to serve others in his honor.
That’s the motivating factor for Tayon Williams-Dancy, organizer of Saturday’s march at Apex honoring Dr. King. Since an assassin’s bullet killed King on April 4, 1968, Williams’ Dancy sees an opportunity to educate today’s youth to avoid violent resolution of conflicts. So she scheduled a forum after the march to encourage dialogue.
“A panel discussion on gun violence. Dr. Martin Luther King was all about non-violence. That’s what underpinned his mission,” said Williams-Dancy. “And now when you look at where we are now, there’s so much violence going on in our world. How can we make young people reflect on what Dr. King did? “
She has studied his life and the sacrifices of others, including those beaten by law officers during the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march organized for black voter registration in Selma, Alabama. .
“The fact that you can walk down Salem Street today and not be attacked by a hose or a dog. The fact that you can walk freely without facing death and you can walk and celebrate together is King’s legacy.” she said.
The holiday weekend also inspired the people of Durham. They spent part of Saturday mowing the undergrowth and vacating the Guia Cemetery. Guia Cemetery was the final resting place for enslaved people and other African Americans during the days when segregation laws were in force.
“I wasn’t very active, and as a kid, I didn’t know it was happening, and I wasn’t interested…a little more, maybe a lot more. I mean.. So I just want to feel like I want to be involved, to do something.
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One of the cemetery’s tombstones is dated Saturday, but it is 1834 that the woman buried there may have been enslaved.
Volunteer coordinator Carissa Trotta said it was a reminder of the importance of serving in Dr. King’s name.
“We came together to acknowledge that history, to acknowledge its perseverance, its determination, its strength. And Dr. King embodied them. Preserving it for generations,” said Trotta.
Many young people already recognize the importance of Dr. King.
“I remember his speech,” said young Quinley Toth. “Speech in support of Black Lives Matter and all of it. How important it is for everyone to have equal rights.”
Ernest Coleman said he didn’t mention the royal legacy to his preschool daughter.
“The discussion will come later, when she can fully understand what it means,” he said. I don’t want to give her anything.”
Those motivated by Dr. King’s words, deeds and sacrifices want to continue their service to help the nation grow.
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