On Monday, January 16, hundreds of citizens adorned with flags and portraits took to the streets in order to commemorate and remember the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
People from all over the region came to Macon for the chance to march as Dr. King did in his important struggle with discrimination, racism and bigotry.
The crowd was one of the largest seen in recent years, reaching around 1,000.
It was beyond apparent that Dr. King’s message remained in the hearts of people today. From miles away you could hear the different crowds all singing the same freedom songs that were sung by Dr. King and his followers. “Ain’t gonna let no hatred turn me around/ Turn me around, turn me around/ Ain’t gonna let no hatred turn me around/ I’m gonna keep on a-walkin’, keep on a-talkin’ /Marchin’ up to freedom land.” The groups started at four different points, east, west, north and south Macon, and later converged at Macon’s city hall joining together in unison to sing “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody.” The moment was somber.
As the final words were sung, everyone quieted down and gathered closer in order to hear the message that was to come. “We come here to make a statement: Freedom is not free,” Rev. Richard Gammage, head pastor of New Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, expressed to the crowd. “Many have died. Blood has been shed. It’s time now to re-evaluate voter registration, voter education, voter orchestration and ultimately voter demonstration. That means you go to the polls and vote,” urged Gammage. Rev. Gammage urged people to vote as did Dr. King, expressing that if you want your voice to be heard you must make it so that it is heard, by exercising your right to vote.
After Rev. Gammage spoke, Macon’s Mayor Robert Reichert took to the stage and thanked everyone in attendance on such a monumental day. Reichert said the marching is a fitting way to “realize how far we have come and look and see how far we have to go to build a more just community and build a community of love and brotherhood.”
When the final prayer was said, many were in tears, others were joyful but most importantly everyone was together. It was truly a sight to see, just as Dr. King would have wished for. Old and young, white and black, all gathered together as one in order to help further express his message of equality to the entire community.
When the crowd dispersed, the message dispersed with them. Each person walked away with the idea, of equality and above all, an unconditional love for your fellow man. Dr. King once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Today this message still reigns true. Dr. King will forever be remembered and never forgotten as these hundreds of people demonstrated.