Dowagiac pastors led the march for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from City Hall to Second Baptist Church on a sunny Sunday afternoon (The Daily News/John Eby)
Dowagiac pastors led the march for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from City Hall to Second Baptist Church on a sunny Sunday afternoon (The Daily News/John Eby)

Archived Story

What Dr. Martin Luther King intended to be remembered

Published 10:52am Monday, January 18, 2010

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “intended for his dream to be remembered,” the Rev. Kevin D. Crosby of Conner-Mayo AME Church said Sunday evening at Dowagiac’s appreciation program hosted by Second Baptist Church.

The Rev. Crosby, a Detroiter who arrived at the church on N. Front Street in August 2008, preached his second sermon of the day and accompanied his wife, Kim’s, vocal selection on organ.

Dr. King, whose 81st birthday Jan. 15 means no school today, “intended for the wisdom of God to be remembered,” the Rev. Crosby said. “He intended for the demonstration of freedom to be remembered. That justice for the oppressed would be remembered because as we remember, we will continue to work in these areas.”

The Rev. Crosby continued, Dr. King “intended for equality for the unequal, that that idea remain in our minds and in our thoughts. He intended for his dream as a great beam of light of hope to be remembered. Remember the dream. He intended for the inclusion of all U.S. citizens in the nation’s material prosperity. For that idea to be remembered. He intended for the receipt of inalienable rights, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people to be remembered.”

“Dr. King intended,” the Rev. Crosby said, “for realizing the promise of democracy by all races of people to be remembered. Those who fought for the rising of the dark and desolate valley of segregation, as he put it, he wants those to be remembered. He wanted African Americans to be granted their citizens’ rights, and for that to be remembered.”

“He wanted us to remember that the destiny and freedom of all Americans are tied together,” the Rev. Crosby said, “and the ties that bind are Jesus Christ. We have here many different churches, many different denominations, different cultures, races represented. But there’s something we all have in common. That is Jesus Christ.

Clergy in attendance included Tyrone Pace, Jon Den Houter, Rick Swanson, Justin Shepherd, James Gibson, Tracy Hatcher, Bishop Tommy Reels and Tonnie Blackamore.
“Dr. King says remember, and don’t forget, the horrors of police brutality because it could happen again anytime,” the Rev. Crosby said. “Remember the inability of Americans to stay in motels and hotels in any given town. You couldn’t go to the restroom. You had to go the side of the road. Remember that. You could only live in certain places. You had limited housing. There were signs that said ‘whites only.’ You could not eat in certain places. You couldn’t drink water in certain places. There was an inability in the Southern states to vote, and in the Northern states there was a lack of realizing that a vote does matter, that a vote does count.”

The Rev. Crosby said such remembrances “move us into a different kind of slavery that perpetuates itself – slavery of the mind. Isaiah addressed that. He said Jesus was going to come to free all of the captives. That’s not just the mental and the physical, but also the spiritual captives.

“We have to remember Dr. King quoted Luke 3:5. Luke was quoting Isaiah 40 when he said these words, ‘I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted. Every hill shall be made low. The rough places will be made plain and the crooked places will be made straight. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed. Jesus is definitely in the plan.”
The Rev. Crosby said, “Those who are proud, those who are arrogant, those who are high and mighty – and I don’t expect anybody to admit it – and those who are deemed to be lowly and those who think crooked thoughts and those who have crooked characters will be on an even plain.

“All folks will work together for the purpose of togetherness. God created us to be together … He made us so when He wanted to come and work with us, He worked through us. We must trust Him. We don’t always look for signs. We don’t always look for miracles to happen – though they do happen. The real miracle is how we work together, revealing God’s love. That’s what Jesus Christ showed us. Did you know Jesus was the glory of God manifest in the flesh? It’s about togetherness, it’s about love, it’s about remembering hope. It’s about letting freedom ring everywhere in this country, remembering it’s all about togetherness and preparing for the Lord Jesus Christ. In case you haven’t heard, He’s coming back.”

When Dr. King said, “I have a dream,” the Rev. Crosby said, “he was referring to an achievement that he and many others longed for. It was an aspiration. A goal, an aim, a hope. It was also a vision that the playing field would be leveled. It filled him with joy and gladness just to be able to imagine that this is possible. We can’t even imagine anything like that without the power of God in our lives.

“But,” he said, “there is yet much work to still do. The filling of the valley with those who are truly humble and repentant, that’s what must be done. There has to be digging down of the mountains of high-mindedness. Jesus said we have to humble ourselves. It takes humility to come to Christ. It takes humility to care about someone else at least as much as yourself. It takes humility to want the best for the world.

“We also need to straighten out the characters of those who think dishonestly. These are the crooked roads,” he said. “Dishonesty brings instant gratification. We’re in a society that wants it right now and I feel I have the authority to demand it right now because I’m me and what I want counts more than what you want. We’ve got to straighten out our crooked thinking. If you put someone else’s feelings and consideration of their situation ahead of your own, you will be rewarded. You might not get money for it, but when you do good, don’t you feel good?”

“To keep what has been accomplished so far in the quest for freedom, justice and equality, we must remember what has been overcome,” the Rev. Crosby said. “If we forget what has been overcome, if we forget where we were in our society back when Martin Luther King was organizing the marches and fighting against different types of injustice, if we forget these things and what it took and still takes for this nation to move on and progress toward a culture that is truly based on freedom, justice and equality. Anybody can say those words, but it’s evident in the way we live what we really believe. Remember the dream and don’t let it die. As Jesse Jackson said, ‘Keep hope alive.’ “

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