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Columbia Cnty NAACP Celebrated the Life of One of the Greatest Human Beings of Modern Times, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

Judge Collins gives the key note address
Judge Julian Collins gives the key note address to the assembly honoring the life of Dr. King.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The Columbia County Branch of the NAACP celebrated for the 29th time the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. The gathering was sparse as Evangelist Brooksene Smith ended her invocation saying, "Bless the local NAACP officers, because Lord, they have a long ways to go... Bless each and every one that's assembled here this afternoon... We ask that you continue to look around Lake City. We need you Lord like we never needed you before... Amen.

Avona Randolph and Judge Collins listen to the choir after her presentation.


Fifth grade honor student, Avona Randolph, reminded the gathering that tomorrow they would be celebrating Dr. King's 84th birthday. Ms. Randolph spoke about Dr. King's courage. "Martin Luther King knew that he could be killed at any moment of any day as he fought for integration and fairness for all people... We celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This is the occasion."

Former Supt. of Schools, Mike Flanagan.

Former Superintendent of Schools, Michael Flanagan, gave an award to Fort White football coach, Demetric Jackson. Before he did he had a few words.

"Dr. King once said, "'The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically, especially emphasizing intelligence plus character. That is the goal of true education.'"

Sheriff Mark Hunter explained that he grew up in Columbia County and saw how things had changed. "I'm proud to be a part of that Sheriff Mark Hunterchange," he said. "I bring greetings from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office."

Sheriff Hunter explained that the "kids" think the job of the Sheriff is to "put people in jail." Sheriff Hunter said that for the first year on the job that is what he thought, but after speaking with some old time Sheriffs he learned that the job of the Sheriff was to help people.


Superintendent Terry Huddleston was next up to the microphone. Every day he and the folks at the Columbia County School district directly affect the lives of 10,000 of the community's children. He said, "Our system is working hard for boys and girls... We will continue to work hard for you."



Keynote speaker, Judge Julian Collins, thanked NAACP Secretary Glynell Presley for the invitation to speak. He said he was going to be 69 in two weeks and realized that he has been an eye witness to a lot of history, "a lot of which was not pretty."

Judge CollinsJudge Collins shared that when he was about 10 he thought about why his black hero baseball players couldn't eat with their white teammates.

Judge Collins mentioned that his father had graduated from Fort White High School in 1927 and was the first member of his family to go to college. Judge Collins said that his dad discovered when he was 48 that "some people were being denied a fair chance to be all that they could be simply because they happened to be black and it made him sad and angry at the injustice."

Judge Collins continued, "We have come a long way in the pursuit of the American Dream... We are a far better nation than the one I encountered as a child, but there continues to be mutual distrust and suspicion among blacks and whites and other ethnic groups."

Judge Collins finished his presentation with an excerpt from Dr. King's Letter From the Birmingham Jail.

The Reverend Joy Gallmon, Pastor of the New Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church gave the closing benediction.

"It is my prayer that the God of peace; the God of joy; the God of hope; the God of love; the God of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Barak Obama, my momma's God, your mother's God, our God. May that God rest, rule and abide with each and every one of you, hence now and forever more. And the people of God said, Amen."

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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