Monday morning, 6-year-old Brian Casey’s voice rose in the sanctuary of Springfield Baptist Church as he recited from memory the words of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
Brian’s recitation was part of an annual celebration the church holds in honor of King’s birthday. Many church members contributed to the event, for which Dontavious Murray and Jacorey Crawford served as masters of ceremonies.
The teach-in began with everyone singing Lift Every Voice and Sing, known as the Negro Anthem.
Alexis Hixson, 11, gave a solo rendition of Silver and Gold, and the Gold Judah dance ministry team performed a praise dance.
“When they dance it’s like something comes inside of them, and you can see that God is working in a magnificent way,” said Geraldine Reid, an organizer of the event.
Tyjah Ivey, 14, performed with the Gold Judah dance ministry team. She and the other three dancers who performed put the routine together on their own.
She said they were happy to have a chance to participate in the event because it teaches about history and culture.
“It’s a great honor to be able to come together and honor the day he was born,” she said. “We wouldn’t be in the good position we are today if he wasn’t born.”
The assembly later divided into classes geared toward different age groups, from kindergarten children to adults.
The Rev. Fred Favors, pastor of Springfield Baptist, said the church has always celebrated King and placed an emphasis on his teachings. He said it is particularly important for children and youths to learn the principles the civil rights leader espoused.
“Dr. King was multi-dimensional, and his truth needs to be shared from every aspect,” Favors said. “With each of his teachings, there was a degree of complexity that unfolded.”