From Staff Reports
More than 100 people remembered Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday Monday by marching to Marshall County's Courthouse, where speakers called for community unity and renewed respect for the slain civil rights leader's peaceful work for change.
"Dr. King's legacy to us is one of peacefully working for change; change powered by hope, and peopled by men and women of good will who work for the good of all," the Rev. Steve Thomas, a Lewisburg councilman, said from prepared remarks that also noted Monday was the second Inauguration Day for President Barack Obama.
"In these two events," the Belfast pastor said, "let our nation move forward. Enough of gridlock and partisan bickering."
Current events also moved Dr. Larry Thomas to speak on local issues raised by Thomas: education, jobs, school security and quality of life.
"Be glad you're here today and that your children are not cut down in the school system," Dr. Thomas said.
"Many of you are sending your kids away from Marshall County for schooling," he said. "What does that say about Marshall County?"
He encouraged people to compete for top jobs, and seek positions on the city council and county commission.
"Stop taking the leftovers," Dr. Thomas said.
"Don't be satisfied to have your names in the paper when you're in jail.
"This is not about black and white," he said. "This is about civil rights for everyone."
The rally on the square included prayers and singing of "We Shall Overcome" and "This Little Light of Mine."
When Rev. Thomas mentioned school security, John Eddins of Ashland City spoke up, calling for "God back in schools, not guns."
Eddins said he attended high school in Fayetteville, and came to the Lewisburg event because he learned about it from Anne McKinney, who attends the Petersburg Church of Christ.
Gary Davis, president of the Marshall County Branch of the NAACP, estimated attendance as "more than 100."
Marchers assembled at The Acres shopping plaza, went west on East Commerce Street to Lewisburg's public square, and assembled at the east steps of the courthouse.
"We're going to march again and again," said Dr. Thomas.
Tribune news writers Karen Hall and Clint Confehr collaborated on this story.