Nonprofit hosts program to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted at 11:56 AM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:38-04

Mission Waco, a non-profit organization, hosted a program to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

The program held at the Jubilee Theater had over 200 attendees. The event started with speeches reflecting on history and how it relates to the present.

"The legacy of King is too important just to take off a holiday and ignore that there are other challenges in our nation that have to do with race and other kinds of prejudices,” Mission Waco’s Executive Director Jimmy Dorrell said.

He added that this event serves as a way to encourage people to stand up for injustice.

During the program, Baylor Journalism, PR & New Media Professor Robert Darden talked about religious folk songs, known as spirituals. Darden is leading the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, which he said is the world’s largest initiative to acquire, catalog and digitize that music from the vanishing vinyls of African-American music from 1945 to 1970s.

"Our fear was music -- which is not only the foundational music of all American music but it's also the soundtrack of spirituals, protest spirituals and freedom songs -- will be lost forever. So future generations wouldn't get to hear it,” Darden said.

Some of those songs are currently at the National Museum of African American Culture in Washington D.C.

“Black sacred music -- in particular, protest spirituals, freedom songs -- have not only been the soundtrack not just for the American Civil Rights Movement but why it is important is because they are still being sung today, whether is black lives matter in the United States,” Darden said.

He said this music has been part of a continuum being sung during protests and at funerals of African American people who died in an act of violence. “Something that survives that long and gives that much power and peace to people must mean something,” Darden said.

Adults and teenagers had the chance to have a dialogue about racial reconciliation separately. In the afternoon, volunteers worked on 14 different projects in the community, including a community garden for Church Under the Bridge in the 1700 Block of Webster Avenue.

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