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Dr. King was saying that we all have a choice to make

To many people (including me), Jan. 20  will always be a special day that we hold dear in our hearts. We use this day to honor one of the most well-known activist and leaders of the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King paved the way for not just African-Americans, but for other ethnic groups to be treated equally in the United States of America. He will always be remembered as a hero, a leader, a father, etc.  So, it is only fair that we have a day to just reflect on what he has done for this country.

For me, though, this morning was just like any other typical day except that since it was Dr. Martin Luther King’s Day, my school gave us the opportunity to take the day off.

Usually when I have the day off from school, I go to The Panolian and try to come up with stories or ways to help the newspaper the best way I can. However, this day was a little bit different.

As I was headed to The Panolian this morning, I could not help but to see a lot of cars parked right by Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church along Old Panola Rd. There were many people gathered around the church taking pictures and having fun conversations about the history of the church.

I knew that this one of the last places Dr. King spoke before he was assassinated in Memphis, just two weeks afterwards. I thought I should stop and visit the church myself. I was able to find a good parking spot by the building and was immediately greeted by a man named Jimmy Bishop.

He was a very nice man. He was wearing a heavy button down jacket due to the very windy and cold weather conditions, but it didn’t seem to phase him one bit. I told him that I worked for The Panolian and was here to visit and take a picture of the Church, and he happily told me to take a picture of him standing by the Mississippi Historical Marker located in front of the Church.

I did not mind at all. I was not in a rush, so I agreed to take the picture. The first picture I took of him, he had his jacket drenched over his body. Once I told him that I took the picture, he told me to stay there. He started to unbutton his jacket so I could see his shirt. Bishop had on a Martin Luther King Jr. shirt that stated “Our vision is to continue to make History.” I proceeded to take another picture and he shook my hand as we departed from each other.

I did not know this man at all, but he treated me like I was his brother. At that moment I realized something very important. This is what Dr. King wanted us to do all along. He wanted us as people of the United States of America to come as one. No matter what skin color you are, no matter what place you were born in, and no matter what other differences we may have had, this was his dream.

In the Bible, Matthew 5:43-45 states “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father that is in heaven.”

This was what Dr. King has been telling us all along. That we should love one another and live in peace. So you can always have ought against somebody that has done wrong to you, or you can learn to forgive that person and continue along the path that God has chosen for you.

The choice is up to you.

 

Johnathan Williams is a junior at South Panola High School. He has been a student intern at The Panolian since 2018.