By Crystal Burns
Rev. Julian Knowles, pastor of The Lord’s Healing & Deliverance Church in Humboldt, was born and raised in the Bahamas. He recalled his father having conversations with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when King would visit the islands.
“Martin Luther King was the dream keeper,” Knowles said. “God is the dream maker.”
Knowles was the keynote speaker at Trenton’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration held Monday morning beginning with a brief ceremony at the Gibson County Courthouse followed by a march to First Baptist Church on Gibson Road where the holiday observance continued.
Knowles said that King wasn’t leading but following the Holy Spirit and the dream that God gave him.
“The dream came from God,” he said. “It didn’t come from a black man. When I became a Christian, my skin color didn’t matter.”
He encouraged the church to come together under God’s agenda, grab the baton from King and run their leg of the race, read the Bible and do what it says, and be the light that flows out into the community.
“Only what you do for Christ will last,” Knowles said.
At the courthouse, Trenton Mayor Ricky Jackson presented a proclamation designating the day as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Trenton to Tyron Pharms. It’s a tradition that the Trenton mayor reads the proclamation and gives it to a youngster.
Peabody High School senior Shaniah Lee, who led marchers in song, said the day serves as the fulfillment of King’s dream.
“We’re here fulfilling his dream of coming together as one,” she said.
County Clerk Joyce Brown offered greetings from Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon and other county elected officials and spoke of King’s legacy of bringing love, hope and healing the America. She lauded his revolutionary spirit and encouraged marchers to work together.
“In order to keep the dream alive, we have to work together,” Brown said. “It starts with me, and it starts with you.”
Hollis Skinner recalled when his path crossed with King’s in 1960 in Nashville. Although Skinner wasn’t able to meet King, he did attend a service where King spoke. Several months later, Skinner would participate in a sit-in demonstration at the lunch counter at Woolworth’s in Nashville.
Skinner said King’s example propelled him into a career in public service that included 14 years as a Trenton alderman.
“Life is long,” Skinner said. “We have a lot of work to do. I’m trying to do the work of Dr. King everyday.”
Betty Payne performed a solo at the courthouse. Ora Knowles, wife of the keynote speaker, had a solo at the church, and the Gibson County Youth Choir, under the direction of Markeus Patterson, performed several songs.
Sonja Faye Dodd helps organize the annual event.