Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 20, 2014

A leader with the courage to stand

Locals challenged to follow King’s example

ASHLAND — The Rev. Stanley McDonald challenged those attending Monday morning’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at a packed St. James AME Church to follow the example of the slain civil rights leader by not being afraid to take a stand.

Speaking at the annual service sponsored the Boyd and Greenup County Branch of the NAACP, McDonald, an employee of the Veterans Administration office in Huntington and a resident of Ashland, used the stoning of Stephen in the seventh chapter of Acts to compare the first century Christian martyr to the 20th century civil rights leader.

Just as a young Stephen took a stand in the early church and was stoned to death for it, Martin Luther King Jr. took a stand in 1955 when as a young pastor in Birmingham, Ala., he organized 385-day boycott of city buses that was started when Rosa Parks refused to move from her seat on the bus.

“Martin Luther King Jr. took a stand and Rosa Parks took a stand, and because of their courage, they helped to change America,” said McDonald, an ordained minister who is an associate pastor of New Hope Baptist Church.

While America has come a long, long way in the march toward equality since those early days of the civil rights movement, “we still have a long way to go,” McDonald said. “Our people today, especially our young people, need to be willing to take a stand for what is right.”

The Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and 1956 led to the sit-in movement in Atlanta, which began in February 1960 with blacks refusing to leave a whites-only lunch counter and continued with the 1963 March on Washington where King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, McDonald said. While things are much better today, he said hate crimes continue to occur as individuals are attacked for the color of their skins or because they are thought to be gay, he added.

“Yes, we have come a long way, but we are still not free,” said McDonald, adding there have been times when he has failed to do all that he can to speak out on injustices.

“I have remained silent when I saw a wrong when I should have spoken out,” he said. “My prayer is that in the future I will have the courage to speak out and raise the public’s consciousness.”

Speaking briefly during the hour-long service, Mayor Chuck Charles challenged those in attendance to “seize the day” and to make the best of the opportunities each of us are given.

Dr. King was a “doer,” the mayor said. He was not a watcher, and he was not a talker who never put his words into action, the mayor said..  

Charles challenged listeners to be doers instead of watchers and talkers. “That’s how we can make a difference,” he said. “We all need to seize the day.”

The Boyd County Middle School choir, whose members rose early on a day in which they did not have school, sang “Wade in the Water” and the Men’s Chorus from Christ Temple Church sang two numbers.

Ann Newman, president of the Boyd and Greenup County Branch of the NAACP, thanked all those present for attending the service and encouraged more of them to become involved in the local NAACP. “We especially need more involvement by our young people,” she said.

In the past year, two active NAACP members, Elzy Thomas and Jimmy Johnson, have died and the local branch needs young leaders to rise to fill the void their deaths have created, Newman said.

Bernice Henry, a longtime employee of the Ashland Head Start program, served as grand marshal of the parade from the historic church at the corner of Carter Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to First Presbyterian Church on Judd Plaza, a distance of a little more than four blocks. The church served a free light lunch.

For only the second time ever at the annual service, an offering was taken with all proceeds going to feed the hungry  through Food from the King’s Table, a ministry of New Hope Baptist.  

“I debated about doing this,” Newman said, “but this is not to benefit a Baptist program, it is to feed the hungry. Whether you give is up to you. Do as your heart leads you.”

JOHN CANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2649.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Night Moves for First Friday

    A chance to enjoy an evening run through the streets of Ashland will be among the things to do during the First Friday ArtWalk and Downtown Live for August in downtown Ashland from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Arts in the Vines’ will be in conjunction with U.S. 60 Yard Sale

    Offering a different taste of life in Carter County, the owners of RockSprings Winery are inviting locals and visitors to the U.S. 60 Yard Sale to spend some time in their vineyards during the first “Arts in the Vines” from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.

    July 30, 2014

  • Grimes zeroes in on women’s issues with latest ad

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is out with a third television ad posing questions from Grimes’ supporters to Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 30, 2014

  • OEA to investigate Fairview

    State investigators are scheduled to arrive in the Fairview School District Thursday morning, The Independent has learned.

    July 30, 2014

  • Stumbo says Bissett 'handpicked' by McConnell

    Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo said Wednesday there’s an obvious reason the president of the Kentucky Coal Association has publicly defended Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s support of the coal industry.

    July 30, 2014

  • colepotteronline.jpg Acoustic jam night at Callihan's

    With the onset of  patio season, the staff at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill have adopted a new program for Wednesday’s open-invitation entertainment with the all new Callihan’s Acoustic Jam Session, providing a stage for local talent and a spotlight for a featured musician each week.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golf scramble will benefit Paramount Arts Center

    Paramount Woman’s Association’s seventh annual Ladies’ Golf Scramble is scheduled for Aug. 11 at Bellefonte Country Club.

    July 30, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Parking, history, and some wiffleball

    The calendar flips to August tomorrow and some students in the area will be back in school next week.

    July 30, 2014

  • Students need better counseling to contribute more to the region, working group says

    A group studying how education can lift the economy of Appalachian Kentucky has several ideas, including a “counseling for careers” approach that would begin for students no later than middle school and continue through high school.

    July 30, 2014

  • Tensions rise among city commission members

    The controversy about City Manager Ben Bitter’s moving expenses revealed a division in the Ashland Board of City Commissioners.

    July 29, 2014