Wheeling Remembers Martin Luther King Jr.
Events held Sunday to honor civil rights leader
WHEELING — Martin Luther King Jr. can be best remembered for challenging the notions of decency and justice in our society, and redefining them, according to Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott.
Elliott spoke during an interfaith service Sunday at Fourth Street United Methodist Church. The event was one of among many set to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, organized by Wheeling Jesuit University and faith-based community partners.
The commemoration began with the Interfaith March For Peace And Justice down Wheeling Hill celebrating King’s legacy. Prior to the start of the march, Ron Scott of the Wheeling YWCA reads aloud passages from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letters From A Birmingham Jail.”
Following the march, supporters moved inside to Fourth Street United Methodist for the service. Rev. Danny Mason recited King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, while members of WJU’s Black Student Union read some of King’s most notable quotes.
Local religious leaders provided scriptures representing five religious traditions — Hinduism, Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam.
Elliott spoke of how King challenged societal thought during his time, while forcing people to reconsider what was “decent” and “respectable” behavior.
“Much of Martin Luther King’s fight was against actions thought of as ‘decent’ for the day,” Elliott said.
It was considered “decent” for African Americans to sit in the back in the back of the bus, and Rosa Parks was thought “indecent” for revolting against that norm, Elliott said.
King taught us we shouldn’t be blinded by societal norms, but should consider “how things should be,” he said.
“Martin Luther King is known not just for his decency, but how he redefined it,” Elliott said.
Following the service, supporters went next door for a luncheon at the Wheeling YWCA.
Chris Fountaine was to be honored with the Rosa Parks Award during the luncheon, while Bill and Susan Hogan were tapped as this year’s recipients of the MLK Committee Award.
All three honorees became ill this week and were not able to attend the event, according to organizers.
David Rose of Wheeling said he has attended Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations since his teenage years in Indiana, and kept with this tradition even while serving in the military.
“It’s important people know what he did,” Rose said of King.
Kobey Quamina, president of Wheeling Jesuit University’s Black Student Union, said it is important as the world progresses that people remember all our equal.
“You also have to fight for what’s right, even when you have to fight against adversity,” she said.
She was joined by Aaliyah Sadler, treasurer of the club.
“Everyone is equal,” Sadler said. “Everyone is the same. No one is different.”