FLORENCE — With a rich, smooth baritone voice, Terrance Brown sang words from Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech.
The words spoken by King during the March on Washington in 1963 should still inspire and motivate people today, Brown said to an audience of students during the University of North Alabama’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Friday.
Brown cautioned students and others to not lose sight of King’s vision and mission 49 years after the civil rights leader’s voice rang out to 250,000 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
“I hope you will not think of this holiday as a day to get out of school or a day to spend at the mall,” Brown said. He went on to say the holiday, which is Monday, should refocus people on their beliefs and goals and inspire them to achieve greatness.
“Isn’t that the premise of our country?” Brown asked. “To have a belief?”
Brown, director of vocal studies at UNA, encouraged the audience to mimic the courage displayed by King and those in attendance during the march on Washington and King’s other endeavors.
Brown said organizers at the march in Washington, D.C., believed at most 850 people would be in attendance, but as King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he looked out over more than 250,000 people, many of whom left family and jobs to attend.
“How many of you would leave the comfort of your home to seek what we think is right?” Brown asked.
Brown posed that question before the group set out on a ceremonial march across the UNA campus.
“He, Martin Luther King Jr., made such a mark in our history,” said Desiree Alexander, a UNA sophomore from Huntsville. “His speeches, his actions have made such a difference even in our lives. We need to keep that alive for every generation that comes.”
Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754 or jennifer.edwards@TimesDaily.com.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will begin Sunday with a gospel singing at 3 p.m. At Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, Leighton.
A short program is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday outside the Lauderdale County Courthouse. Depending on the weather, either a march or caravan will follow from the courthouse to the Florence-Lauderdale County Coliseum for the annual celebration at noon.