Americans need to follow the example of the Good Samaritan from the Bible and help those in need, in keeping with the example of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Rev. Anthony Bledsoe, from Solid Rock Baptist Church and the keynote speaker at the annual celebration in King’s memory, used that example at the annual King Jr. Day activities, Jan. 18, sponsored by the Giles County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, a traveler helps another man who has been waylaid after two others had not stopped to help.
“This country is in deep trouble,” Bledsoe said.
To help counter this, Bledsoe noted the motivations of the Good Samaritan.
“The Good Samaritan’s action were based on compassion, not race,” Bledsoe said.
Listeners were urged to stay on what Bledsoe said was “the right side of the road,”
“He did not let people’s opinions, and he did not let past history keep him from helping.”
For that reason, the correct or right side of the road also may be more difficult to travel, Bledsoe said.
Indications of being on the right side of the road caring about hurting people, caring about people of different races and different backgrounds and that you don’t mind paying the cost to be a blessing to others who are different.
Youth speaker Keidron Turner, a Belmont University student and a local chapter member, mentioned how the assault on the United States Capital building on Jan. 6 by protesters showed the division in America.
He contrasted the Latin phrase “E. Pluribus Unum,” on a seal in the background of a broadcast picture of a protester sitting nearby on a chair.
“So here we have a picture that shows the huge divide in America with a phrase that shows the unity in America,” he said, noting that this country is home to many races of people.
King, Turner said, knew of this division 53 years ago when he promoted the cause of civil rights.
These two Americas that King talked about -those of predominantly white and black America - were known then, Turner said.
“The point is that if Dr. King could point us to problems 53 years ago, surely he can point us to the solutions today,” Turner said,
To get past shortcomings, Americans need to unite, push forward and learn to work together, he said,
“No matter how hard that road or solution may seem, we’re all destined to get there.”
Due to fear of spreading the cornonavirus, the local NAACP branch decided not to have a march from the Giles County Courthouse to Bridgeforth Middle School.
Instead, program was broadcast virtually from the Pulaski Event Center on South 1st Street, which would have been on the parade route.
Branch president Joseph Sutton gave opening remarks, and Benita Cross, first vice president of the chapter, gave closing remarks,
Giles County High School student Bradyn Springer gave a unity prayer, and Elkton student T.J. Cross read the Bible verse,
Harmony Ja’Maye Garrett, 7, recited a poem and the Temple of Praise Mimi Mimes performed a dance.
Monthly meetings of the Giles County Branch of the NAACP are held the last Tuesday of the month,
Besides Sutton and Cross, other officers are Janice Tucker, second vice president; Kelly Hamlin, secretary; Max Trotter, treasurer.