Johnny Litman, associate counsel for the Marine Corps Office of General Counsel, recites excerpts from a speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. at a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany Tuesday honoring the late civil rights leader. The event is held annually, and is hosted by the Albany area chapter of Blacks in Government.
MCLB-ALBANY, Ga. — While celebrating what would have been the civil rights leader’s 82nd birthday, officials from Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany took time to honor the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
The installation hosted its annual King celebration at the base chapel Tuesday.
The program, hosted by the Albany area chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG), included performances by the base’s gospel choir, readings of excerpts from King’s speeches and an appearance by Jo Neal Freeman, clinical supervisor for the Albany Area Community Service Board Touchstone Dual Diagnosis Program and wife of Albany State University President Everette Freeman.
During her remarks, Freeman read a letter addressed to her husband written from the prospective of King — which focused primarily on what is yet to be done to achieve social change.
“The most important civil rights issue is educational opportunities for all,” the letter read. “Poverty is linked to education like toes are linked to feet.”
Freeman’s remarks from the letter further stated that there was “cause for cautious optimism” in regards to the mission to achieve social justice, but at the same time, there are things that need to change.
“As African-Americans, you have failed to do what it takes to lead your people to the promised land,” she read. “We still have much work to do. Your generation has abandoned each other, and by and large, it was the television that raised your children.”
It was also said that the concept of religion, specifically the legacy of the Social Gospel movement, plays a major role in fulfilling King’s dream.
“Religious faith, if it is to be of any use to you, must be (nothing less) than an acute fever,” Freeman stated from the letter. “The Social Gospel movement is precisely the kind of religious fever that is needed to (accomplish social justice).
“In a nutshell, tell others that the cause for freedom remains alive.”
Jeffrey Wilson, president of the Albany BIG chapter, said the reason for the occasion lies within the memory of the man it celebrates — and how he would want his mission to impact the 21st century.
“This gives us a moment to pause and look at where we need to be,” he said. “We want to remember King’s work, and the work that needs to be done.
“King provided us an example, and we get to honor him.”
This does not conclude the base’s events in recognition of King for this year. The Albany Marine Band will be performing a concert honoring the late activist at the Albany Municipal Auditorium on North Jackson Street at 7 p.m. on Saturday. It will be free and open to the public.