March in W.Va. honors memory of King

January 17, 2000

Freedom MarchBy JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

photos: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Approximately 50 people marched from Charles Town to a Ranson church Sunday afternoon to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

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Some people joined the march along the way while others met the group at Kings Apostle Holiness Church of God, Baltimore Temple for a program honoring the slain Civil Rights leaders.

About 80 people packed the small church to listen to inspirational sermons from seven area ministers.

Rev. Paul Brown, of the House of Prayer-Church of God, reminded attendees about a black woman, who on Dec. 2, 1955, refused to give up her seat at the front of a bus.


"'My feet are tired,'" were the words of Rosa Parks, Brown said.

"My message to you today is 'Don't lose your seat,'" Brown said.

Brown said they must seek to stop injustice anywhere to anyone.

While we may never solve all of the problems of economics and freedom, Brown said he didn't want to ever hear someone say "we didn't try."

Freedom MarchBrown also reminded people that youths need role models and that most young people's problems start with adults, for it is adults who bring drugs into the nation and adults who produce R-rated movies.

Rev. Sterling Porter, of the Baltimore Temple, said he didn't grow up in segregated schools or deal with the racial issues of his parents and grandparents.

"It is something I have come to appreciate because I have enjoyed the fruits of his labor," said Porter, adding that King's life was a poem that is still being read today.

The first Martin Luther King Freedom March in the nation was held in Charles Town 16 years ago to commemorate King and try to keep his dream alive, said George Rutherford, president of the Jefferson County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The idea for the march came from Jim Kirantonsis, a speaker at a local banquet who worked for the King family in Atlanta, said Rutherford, 64, of Charles Town.

Jean Roberts, 60, of Charles Town, said she marches every year. "I think it's good to come out and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday," she said.

Georgia DuBose marched the more than one mile trail Sunday to honor an annual commitment she doesn't always get to make.

"I was in high school when marches started in the South in the 1960s and my parents wouldn't let me go," said DuBose, 52, who lived in Illinois at the time.

DuBose, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., said she promised herself she would participate in such marches in the future.

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