The Rev. Fred Favors of Springfield Baptist Church repeated a familiar theme Monday at a Martin Luther King Day observance at the Thomson-McDuffie County Government Center and Courthouse.
“Go to the polls,” said Favors, who is also a county commissioner. He said a decision by a commission majority to redraw election boundaries could and should have waited until all commissioners could attend. Favors said he spent that Thursday evening with a family who had suffered a loss and that the topic could have waited just five more days, until a regularly scheduled meeting.
Favors, whose name is on a plaque on that new building, said the structure was dedicated last summer. “Now it must be consecrated,” he said. He addressed 82 people who had gathered on just one day’s notice for that purpose.
Favors reminded the crowd of economic injustices that result from abuse of power. “Those decisions are made in pretty buildings,” Favors said.
The Rev. David Walker of Greater St. James A.M.E. Church in Thomson said King Day should be more than just a day off work. “It should be a day of us getting together as brothers and sisters in Christ and putting our differences aside,” he said.
He said that although some prominent symbols of segregation are gone, “we are not that far removed from those days.” He asked the crowd to pray for city, county and state leaders. “All is not well,” he said.
Walker decried the voter identification law as “nothing more than a poll tax.”
Deacon Milledge Samuels and the Rev. Roscoe Perry of First Mount Carmel Baptist Church also spoke.
Perry warned that black-on-black violence has become a more deadly enemy than the hate groups of another era. “I really believe that God wants us to embody the principles of Dr. King not just one day but all year,” he said.
Julia Byrd-Barr, of Thomson, was among the first to gather around the fountain, as a recording of King’s “drum major”
speech filled the courtyard.
“I celebrate King every year because I know that he has made a change in the world, not just for black people, but for everyone,” she said.