Local residents celebrate Dr. King at annual event

Local residents celebrate Dr. King at annual event
Lori Feeney

Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, left, and Rev. Rasheed As-Samad.


First Baptist Church in Dover held the Christopher Lowery Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Tribute on Monday, Jan. 20. Keynote speaker Dr. Marvin A. McMickle addressed a diverse audience of residents and community leaders in a celebration of the life and legacy of King.

McMickle gave an address that drew on the story of David and Goliath to illustrate the kind of courage King demonstrated when he fought oppression during the civil rights era.

“He took no sword. He took no shield. He took no helmet," McMickle said of King. "He took faith and courage and a willingness to risk his life for the sake of what he believed in.”

McMickle also invoked John F. Kennedy’s book, "Profiles in Courage," to communicate the most central characteristic a person in public service must possess is courage. “Courage to do what others will not do, courage to go where others will not go, courage to address issues that others have conveniently ignored,” he said.

From segregation in restaurants and on buses, to public lynching parties, to the terrorism of the Klan in the 1920s, McMickle talked about the past that King fought to change through peaceful means. He reminded the audience the work King began is not over.

Like David against Goliath, McMickle said, King courageously went into battle not knowing the outcome. “Just like David went in his generation and King went in his, I hope that somebody here tonight will go in this generation to tackle what MLK considered to be the persistent problems in American society,” he said.

McMickle is the director of the Doctor of Ministry program and a professor of African American religious studies at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. The author of 17 books and dozens of articles, McMickle also is a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Others who participated in the evening’s tribute were Rev. Rasheed As-Samad of First Baptist Church, providing the invocation and introductions; New Philadelphia law director Marvin Fete, who served as master of ceremonies; Pastor William Blake from Mount Olive Baptist Church in Dennison; and Tuscarawas County Juvenile and Probate Court Magistrate Adam Wilgus, who read the poem, “Do It Anyway,” by Mother Teresa. Musical inspiration was provided by Sister Sene Sherrell and Jerome James.

This is the first year the event was renamed to include the name of Christopher Lowery. Lowery, who passed away in spring 2019, started the event in 1986 when he was pastor of the First Baptist Church.

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