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Letters, August 28, 2013

  • Tuesday, August 27, 2013

  • Updated Monday, September 23, 2013 11:32 am

Another important anniversary in August

The Editors,

Mojo asked me to thank the many folks who have wished him happy birthday. Our 85th (his 15th, my 70th) birthday celebration was great. He particularly wanted me to thank Pawleys Island Bakery. They produced a cake with me in a kayak in the marsh and him on the bank waiting for my return.

In the midst of our celebration, Mojo asked about another August celebration that he wanted to know more about. "Tell me about the March on Washington."

"Well Mojo, the full title of the event was, "The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." It took place fifty years ago. Two hundred thousand people gathered to hear a call for economic reform as well as for an end to segregation. Full employment, a minimum wage that was a living wage, strong public education (this was only 9 years after the Supreme Court decision that found "separate but equal schools" unconstitutional) were on the agenda.

“Five decades later we are still trying to live out the notion that everyone in our nation needs to have the opportunity to make the most of her or his ability. It is not too far a leap to see the recent expansion of pre-kindergarten classes in our county as helping us move toward that goal. Studies show that the earlier we start quality education, the more likely it is that a child will find well paying employment."

"I've read newspapers and watched specials on t.v. Tell me something I don't know." "Well, Mojo, growing up in Atlanta, I am particularly drawn to what most folks remember when they think about the March, Dr. King's ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. That speech, in my opinion, is one of the most iconic in all of U.S. history. To put it into perspective, let me tell you a little bit about Dr. King. I never met him, but I got to know him through people who knew him well. I met John Lewis, the only speech maker from that day who is still living, when I worked with Congress and we remain friends. Andy Young co-chaired an inter-seminary project that I staffed. They and others have often shared that Dr. King never wanted to take the national leadership role that was thrust upon him. He was satisfied being a pastor. Circumstances propelled him into a major leadership position in the Civil Rights Movement and onto that stage fifty years ago in Washington, D.C.

“Interestingly, Mojo, I once had the opportunity to study Dr. King's papers. His seminary report card was fascinating. Do you know what he made in his preaching course? He made a C. So, Mojo, for me there is a lesson from the anniversary of the March that won't make any of the t.v. specials, newspaper stories or remembrance booklets. The lesson is that any of us can serve. Everyone is potentially a leader. We can all dream dreams. Each of us is called today, where we live, to help move this broken world a bit closer to the wholeness that God intended."

Sincerely,

The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins and Mojo
Pawleys Island


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