Salisbury marks MLK Day

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 18, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
The spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to thousands Monday.
Robert “Bob” Brown was one of those people.
Brown, chairman and CEO of B&C Associates Inc., a management, consulting, public relations firm based in High Point. He spoke at Monday’s King holiday celebration about his travels with King.
He traveled with King to raise money for the cause.
“Unity is working today in Salisbury, N.C.,” he told the group gathered at the Hurley Family YMCA.
Brown has attended and participated in many King celebrations in Africa, Europe and throughout the United States.
He put Salisbury’s celebrations at the top of the list of great events for its enthusiasm and diverse participants.
Brown called King a brilliant man who cared about people.
“He made possible a lot of things in the communities,” Brown said.
“He believed if we were unified around key issues almost anything could be accomplished,” he said. “Unity starts with each one of us.”
The day’s events proved that unity still works.
Organizers decided to keep last year’s theme of “Unity Works.”
This is the second year Jacqueline Hardin of Salisbury has attended the events.
She attends to be reminded of “the struggle and what people went through to get me where I am today,” she said.
She encourages others to attend “to learn about their heritage,” Hardin said.
Lynda and Jack Errante of Salisbury have attended the breakfast for the past five years. Jack is also a part of the Community Connection steering Committee?.
“It’s our way of honoring Dr. King’s vision for America,” Lynda said.
“What he felt in his heart and the word that he spoke from his heart,” Jack continued.
William Coleman of Salisbury held a portrait of John F. Kennedy, King and Bobby Kennedy, all who were assassinated, while at the Freedman Cemetery.
“Sometimes the dream gets lost. But it’s for all people,” he said.
Coleman believes schools should teach more about King.
He is a member of Groove Phi Groove, a social fellowship formed nearly 50 years ago at what is now Morgan State University.
He’s been attending the events for about 10 years.
It was the first time students with Salisbury Academy participated in the day’s activities said Diane Fuller, who is with Salisbury Academy.
The students have been learning about virtues like courage.
“It took Martin Luther King to stand up what he believed in — for what was right,” she said.
Children and parents alike grooved to the sounds of Mac Arnold and the Plate Full O’ Blues as they belted out tunes such as “Backbone and Gristle” and “Cackalacky Twang.”
He performed for the group at the Salisbury Civic Center.
Arnold played bass in the Muddy Waters Chicago Blues Band in the 1960s. Arnold has also played with many stars like Howlin’ Wolf.
Arnold played from a homemade guitar that cost him $28 to make.
He recently devoted himself to a “Blues in the Schools” initiative in South Carolina, which he briefly spoke about at the event.
He encouraged the children to jump on stage to join him and the band in a performance. Terrance Strickland, 11, was one of those who joined the band.
Terrance, of Statesville played drums for the band and received a standing ovation from the audience.
Arnold asked the youngster when he learned to play. Terrance plays drums in his church, he told the crowd. He attends Zion Wesley AME Zion Church in Troutman.
He’s been self-taught and has been playing for about two years, he said later.
“When I first got the drums I just started playing,” he said.
Virginia Rush and her husband Melvin also jumped on the stage to perform with the band.
Virginia sang “God Bless the Child,” a song made popular by Billie Holiday. Her husband accompanied on piano along with the band.
“This is my first time here and I wouldn’t be anywhere else,”she said before singing.
Virginia called the day a wonderful occasion.
“I’m happy to be here enjoying the music. I will be back,” she said.
“It was a fabulous day,” said Eleanor Qadirah, who coordinated the activities at the Salisbury Civic Center.
“The Human Relations Council said this was not just going to be a planned event, but an educational moment,” Qadirah said.
She said there were many “teachable moments” from the time the group of teens help set up, fold programs, participated in the parade and at the civic center.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.