Hearty souls who braved the bitter cold morning were first warmed by
a large buffet-style breakfast prepared by Lincoln College chef
Warren Wendlandt. As the morning continued, hearts, minds and
spirits were further warmed by inspirational words and song.
Lincoln College President John Blackburn welcomed all, and the Rev.
Glenn Shelton gave the invocation launching the morning of
celebration, sharing challenges and successes.
One who was there in 1968 redefines meaningful
The keynote speaker for the morning was the Rev. Dr. Carroll
Richards. Richards spoke about his firsthand experience in a march
with King. That event took place in March of 1968 and was a march
on City Hall in Memphis, Tenn., in defense of city sanitation
On Feb. 1, 1968, two black sanitation workers had been crushed to
death in a trash truck accident. On the same day in a separate
incident, 22 black sewer workers had been sent home without pay
while their white supervisors were retained for the day with pay.
In response to the city action, the black sanitation workers of
the city went on strike Feb. 12 seeking improvements in job safety,
better wages and the right to union representation.
A march was organized on March 28, and Richards went to be a part
of it. He said he recalled that members of the group were given
wooden poles with signs attached to the top. They were to carry the
signs through the streets of Memphis en route to City Hall.
He said that as the march progressed, he could hear in the
distance booming thuds, but he didn't know what it was. Then as he
rounded a corner on the route, he realized that the sound was of
glass being broken. Marchers were using their poles to smash the
plate glass windows of storefronts along their path. The result was
that the peaceful march turned into a violent riot with destruction
and looting in the wake of the protestors.
Richards said he clearly recalled looking up and seeing a wall of
Memphis riot police in his path. He said he turned and left the
group, and soon after police used tear gas to control the mob.
Richards said that very soon after this event, a second march was
being organized with the intent of it being on April 8. However, on
the evening of April 4, as King left his motel room to join friends
and associates for dinner, he was assassinated.
The march went on but took a new meaning as it became a memorial
march for the deceased civil rights leader.
As Richards drew his talk to a close, he commented that Martin
Luther King Jr. spent only 12 years of his life addressing civil
rights in this country, yet he had a profound effect on many
communities and many lives. Richards noted to those in the room that
many believe that unless they devote their lifetime to making a
difference, what they do really won't matter much. Richards said the
life of Martin Luther King shows that is not true. "Our interaction
with people is not to be measured by its longevity, but by its
effectiveness," he said.
Lincoln College scholarships
Blackburn said that the Martin Luther King Scholarship program
has raised over $30,000 for Lincoln College scholarships. The
committee was challenged to meet a generous pledge from the Woods
Foundation. In 2012, the Woods Foundation awarded the group a
$10,000 matching grant. The committee was given five years to match
the $10,000 but accomplished the feat in only two years.
Blackburn also recognized a person who devoted many hours to
Lincoln College students in the '70s as a tutor. He said Francis
Moriearty had inspired many students to do better than they thought
After she died, the Moriearty family established the Francis
Moriearty Scholarship fund for Lincoln College students.
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Local attorney Jim Grimaldi, grandson of the late Francis
Moriearty, addressed the crowd, quoting from a King speech: "I
can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to
be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I
ought to be."
Grimaldi said this was a motto his grandmother lived by, offering
her support and inspiring many to achieve. "She truly believed her
life would not be fulfilled until their hopes were realized," he
He then presented the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship fund
with a $500 check from the Francis Moriearty Scholarship fund.
Master of ceremonies Gary Davis introduced the 2013 scholarship
recipient, Edraniel Tookes, saying she was an inspiration to the
students of Lincoln College. Tookes is in her second year at the
college and is a vital member of the Lady Lynx basketball team.
Tookes graduated from Lincoln Community High School in 2012. She
is currently a sophomore at Lincoln College, maintaining a 4.0
grade-point average, and is a member of the exclusive Phi Theta
Kappa International Honor Society. Tookes intends to further her
education after Lincoln College by attending Western Illinois
University, where she intends to earn a master's degree in
accounting. She is the daughter of Dean and Nelia Tookes.
Tookes expressed appreciation for the many programs available at
Lincoln College designed to help her and all the students to succeed
in their education. She said that the scholarship program made it
possible for her to achieve her goals of higher education.
Following Tookes' comments, the youth choir of the Second Baptist
Church in Lincoln performed two pieces. The first was entitled
"Enter In." The second was a dramatic and well-sung a cappella piece
entitled "What If God Is Unhappy."
The Lincoln College Chamber Choir also performed two pieces,
first an old Negro gospel hymn entitled "Soon-A Will Be Done" and
then a modern chorus, "In Christ Alone My Hope Is Found."
The morning came to a close with a benediction by the Rev.
Shelton and a "time of givin'" as youngsters from the Second Baptist
Church went from table to table with offering baskets and the choir
sang "We Shall Overcome."
During the event, Blackburn acknowledged those in attendance who
represented local law enforcement, city and county governments. He
asked all to stand for a moment of appreciation for their show of
support for the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship program.
The late Joyce Kinzie was also remembered fondly for her devotion
to the scholarship program and her continual efforts to improve the
quality of education for those in minority.
Recognition was also given to groups that assisted by providing
sponsorships for the breakfast: the city of Lincoln, Eaton Corp.,
Guzzardo's Italian Villa, Les and Gretchen Plotner, Lincoln Chrysler
Dodge Jeep & Ram, and Town and Country Bank.
The committee for the Martin Luther King Scholarship consists of
the Rev. Glenn Shelton, Les Plotner, Cathy Tiffany, Debbie Ackerman
and Cynthia Kelley. Plotner was the driving force behind promoting
the annual breakfast through ticket sales.
[By NILA SMITH]
Soon Ah Will Be Done - The Master's
In Christ Alone (My hope is found):