A March to Remember

Residents honor Martin Luther King Jr. through festivities


Rebecca Irby

Liberal residents march in remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr. People of all ages celebrated the special holiday, Jan. 20, by doing service projects and uniting together. Traditionally in Liberal, the day of service starts with this march from the Library, then residents of all ages spend time working in the community.

Rebecca Irby, Photographer

A diverse group marched from the Liberal Memorial Library to Mehuron Park while holding signs of hope and singing songs of freedom on Monday. People came together ranging from five years of age to elderly, black, white, Hispanic and Asian, in an effort to remember a man who fought for everyone’s freedom — Martin Luther King Jr.

Each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the MLK committee and the Black History committee of Liberal organize a march to remember the Washington DC march in 1963 that changed the lives of African-Americans forever.

Rebecca Irby
Martin Luther King Jr.

“Martin Luther brought awareness to the trials and tribulations of the African-American people and is the man who helped shape my life,” Beverly Williams, leader of the MLK committee in Liberal, said. ”Without him, I could not, and would not, be in the position I am today.

“At one time in Liberal, my mom worked downtown in a restaurant, and I was not allowed to come in through the front door to eat a meal, because of the color of my skin,” Williams recalled. “Martin Luther has put me in a place where I can now go in through the front door and you cannot tell me I can’t come in because of the color of my skin.”

Autry Coleman, Seward County Community College corrosion technology instructor and member of the Black History committee, marked Martin Luther King Jr. as the most influential man in his life.

“His dream was about equality, not just for the black people, but for all people who are affected by the inequality of our country,” he said.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s passion for equality united the country and ignited one of the most impactful movements in American history.

“He was one of the greatest preachers. He was in a position where he could use his speaking abilities to communicate a better way to bring about justice,” Floyd Coleman, member of the Black History committee, said. “He showed that if you love, you defeat hate, and you bring the hate to the light. Nothing was going to get accomplished through violence. He was a great man of God, who was led by God to fight for what was right.”

Rebecca Irby
Residents sing what is often known as the “Negro National Anthem.” It’s a poem by James Weldon Johnson called, Lift Every Voice and Sing.


Martin Luther King Jr. inspired Americans of any race and age group to keep striving for a better life.

“Martin Luther is someone who helps me keep going, and reminds me that I can make change in this world even as a kid,” Jazmin King, an Eisenhower Middle School 8th grader, said.

After the march, the MLK committee provided a chili feed for participants. Representatives from various organizations had booths at the gathering. Southwest Medical Center, Liberal Area Rape Crisis and Adolescent Support Services provided information and guidance at their booths.

“I love seeing groups from the community set up here, but there should be more outreach into the community. MLK day is a day many find themselves off from work or school. However we should use this day as an ‘on’ day. Do something to bring together the community. Pick up trash, volunteer, help your neighbor with some chores. Make MLK day a day of service,” Presephoni Fuller, pastor of South Church of God, said.

Though Martin Luther King Jr. helped make great strides for equality, many believe there’s still a war against oppression in America.

Rebecca Irby
Marching from Liberal’s Memorial Library to Mehuron Park is one way that residents honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s push for equality. Every third Monday in January, the nation steps back to remember and renew efforts for equality.

“The problem I see with the United States is that the government doesn’t look at issues like they are issues. It is all about what my political party believes. So we need the younger generation to think for themselves and to vote for what they believe is right,” Floyd said.

Martin Luther emphasized integration and education to combat discrimination.

“All races were walking with him, so we [the black community], cannot be a secluded group, because then we’re back to segregation, so welcome people of other races to fight this battle with you,” Fuller said.

Autry believes love is the greatest defense against hate.

“The true way we can come together and treat each other fairly, is through love. Without love, there is only one other option, hate. To help the future of our country, we can’t help but look at the color, but we need to look at the person as an individual, and help where we can.”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s love has reflected on the country and excites the nation to continue to improve.

“Knowledge is the path to freedom. So get educated and learn more about the people around you. Love your neighbor as yourself, and keep moving forward,” Fuller said.

February is Black History Month and the Black History Committee is hosting many events in the community throughout February.

For more information, contact the Black History Committee at (907)-378-3396 [email protected]