Gallery audience shares thoughts, art pertaining to Martin Luther King Jr.

January 15, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Douglas Fullard of Martinsburg, W.Va., talks about his "glimpse" of Martin Luther King Jr. at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance Sunday at the Contemporary School for the Arts & Gallery on West Franklin Street.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Douglas Fullard remembers being in Fayetteville, N.C., when he was about 13 years old and seeing Martin Luther King Jr.

King was involved in a demonstration and Fullard, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said he could see the famed civil rights leader off in the distance.

Fullard, speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr., remembrance event at the Contemporary School for the Arts & Gallery on West Franklin Street, said he also remembered having a teacher in Mullins, S.C., who went to school with King.

In the classroom, the teacher often veered from her curriculum to talk about King so students would realize "what we were embarking on," Fullard said.

"It was such a beautiful part of my life," Fullard told about 25 people seated in a room at the school Sunday afternoon.

Fullard spoke when people in the audience were invited to step to the front of the room to talk about anything on their mind as the nation prepares to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day today.

Among those who came forward was Andy Smith, a member of Brothers United Who Dare to Care who has worked on health problems facing minorities.

Smith recalled attending a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conference in Atlanta that centered on a racial and ethnic health disparity. While there, Smith said he met Bernice King, King's daughter.

Smith said if anyone killed his father, he would be looking to "get even." But Smith said he was struck by how Bernice King, while lamenting how it had been tough growing up not having a father, was continuing to work for the issues that her father championed.

The appearances at the front of the room ranged from thoughts to the arts.

Aaron Worthy, a musical instructor at the school at 4 West Franklin St., performed "We Shall Overcome" on a saxophone, while C.L. Carey read some of his poems.

Carey, who grew up in Kearneysville, W.Va., said he began writing poetry at age 12. He said he once took a drink to see how that affected his writing, but he didn't like it. Today he only writes with a clear mind.

"God gives you these talents and gifts. I'm just a good instrument that he allows it through," Carey said of his poetry.

Carey, who has completed a book of his poetry and is currently working on a children's book, reflected on his drinking days and when he thought he was cool.

It was a time that Carey considered himself "on strike" from God.

"We as humans, we go on strike. We want a better deal. We want better benefits," Carey said.

Carey read his poem "If God Should go on Strike," in which he gives thanks that God never went on strike "for being treated unfairly with the things he didn't like."

Carey considered the idea of God going on strike by running the oceans dry, allowing no more rays from the moon and cutting off the Earth's oxygen "until every breath is gone."

"Surely he would be justified if fairness was the game, for no one has been met with more abuse or met with more disdain. We say we want a better deal, so out on strike we go," Carey read.

Local artist Kevin Watson unveiled a piece of art showing King in a heavenly background. The art was auctioned to raise money for the school, and Fullard bought it for $100.

Yvonne Jenkins, a pharmaceutical representative who lives in Martinsburg, talked about the history of King.

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