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Civic League celebrates MLK Day

Fletcher Fountain is mayor of Fort Deposit, but he didn’t talk politics. He’s also a preacher. And he talked like preacher on Monday.

Fountain, guest speaker at the Butler County Civic League’s Freedom Breakfast honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wiped sweat from his brow with a handkerchief as he quoted scripture and talked about the “internal slavery” which black Americans deal with on daily basis.

Morality, he said, was lacking.

“We’re going to have to go back to our morals if we’re truly going to be free,” said Fountain.

Hundreds of people from all walks of life sat in the Fountain’s audience at Dunbar Recreation Center. They clapped, shouted, and stood up as Fountain drew comparisons between the children of Israel – in bondage in Egypt – to the plight of black people in America.

But more importantly, said Fountain, was the promise of freedom to come in Heaven.

“All of these things are temporary,” he said. “We’re waiting on the freedom that lasts.”

Other speakers honored King’s memory and his achievements. Ada Lee Williams recalled meeting King in Gov. George C. Wallace’s office.

“We talked about his family and we talked about my family,” she said.

Others, like Lewis Q. Gulley, saw Monday as a chance to talk directly to black youth.

“Are we being the dream or are we killing the dream?” asked Gulley.

Gulley encouraged black adolescents to be the “kings and queens you were meant to be.”

“Young brothers, pull your pants up,” said Gulley to the crowd’s applause and yells of approval.

Attendees enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, grits, bacon, biscuits and sausage. Civic League chairman George Cook also used the event as an opportunity to draw attention to those in Haiti suffering from last week’s earthquake. Baskets were passed around. Cash and checks were dropped inside.

The money will be sent to the American Red Cross, said Cook.