The Rev. Regan Robinson, Pastor of St. John Baptist Church delivered a highly spiritual tribute in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, March 24 at “A Remembrance Tribute: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Fifty Years Later.” The Ecumenical Service was held at First Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist church in the City of Gary, in observance of the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4, 1968- April 4, 2018).
During the keynote address, Rev. Robinson used as a focal reference point for the scriptural text, one of Dr. King’s favorite scriptures taken from the Old Testament Book of Amos, more specifically Amos 5:24. Like Dr. King, Rev. Robinson spoke of the social injustice Americans and people around the world are facing in contemporary times, including the increased disparities between the very poor and the very wealthy in various aspects of American and world societies.
On August 28, 1963, while speaking on the steps of the famed Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Dr. King in his “I Have A Dream Speech” quoted directly from the Prophet Amos, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Dr. King’s message of equality and fairness for all of America’s citizens has some of its origins in Biblical scriptures.
Dr. Shelley Fisher, Associate Minister at First Baptist Church took as her topic, “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop.” This would be Dr. King’s last public speech on April 3, 1968, where Dr. King compares himself to the Old Testament leader, Moses (Deuteronomy 34:1-4), and his non-entrance to the Promised Land. Dr. Fisher emphasized the need for each of us to continue the struggle for economic and social justice in our own community- the City of Gary, Indiana.
Other highlights of “A Remembrance Tribute: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Fifty Years Later” were the reading and presentation of Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s Proclamation proclaiming Saturday, March 24, 2018, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance Day in the entire State of Indiana. The Proclamation was presented to Katie Hall Educational Foundation, Inc. Chairman and CEO Junifer Hall by Jena’ Bellezza, Chair, The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Indiana Holiday Commission.
A prepared statement was read on behalf of former Gary Mayor Richard G. Hatcher, who had the opportunity to work with Dr. King in the fight for racial and social justice in the mid-1960s.
In musical remembrance of Dr. King, the American Civil War Union Army song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” with the stanza, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord” as sung by Mr. Donald L. Thompson, had attendees standing on their feet, with shouts of hallelujah being resonated around First Baptist Church.
The program in memory of Dr. King was co-sponsored by the Katie Hall Educational Foundation, Inc. and the City of Gary Human Relations Commission. Immediately before the start of the official program, the Law Office of Attorney John Henry Hall, Ed.D., LL.M., hosted and sponsored a VIP & Media Reception in the lower auditorium of First Baptist Church.