Martin Luther King Jr. celebration service - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Martin Luther King Jr. celebration service

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

A group from Rockford's faith based community gathers on this night each year to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  This annual service is still is making an impact on young lives after nearly half a century.

As children we learn about Martin Luther King in school. Tomorrow we celebrate his legacy.

"The privileges that I have today, and that they have today is because of someone else," says Elton Allen is one of the many reverends participating in the service.  

 His goal is to educate the children here with their parents and grandparents. "A lot of them, they don't know what it's like to have to drink from a drinking fountain that says colored only or white only, or those different things, like segregated schools. They don't know anything about that. Myself, I don't know anything about riding in the back of the bus, when I started riding a bus you could ride anywhere," says Allen.  

Pearl Hawks brought several of her family members along wither her, including her young granddaughter Ashayla.

"I've told her that it's a celebration of Martin Luther King's life, so she should know that, she just turned 5," says Hawks.   

While Ashayla may be still be small, it is never to early to learn about what happened during the civil rights movement. "Hawks adds, "We should never forget our history and we should never forget where we came from and how things were back then and how people actually suffered and  died."

But of course, tonight is not just a history lesson, its about the singing and dancing too. Reverend Stephen Thurston, President of the National Baptist Convention of America delivered the keynote message.

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