Sims addresses marchers during Freedom Walk

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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Speaking from the historic pulpit where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed Greenville residents in 1965, the Rev. Dr. Allen J. Sims Sr., pastor of Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church in Montgomery, spoke to a crowd of marchers at Harrison Street Missionary Baptist Church during the 2nd annual Freedom March Feb. 10.  His speech, titled, “If King Had Sneezed,” commemorated Dr. King’s legacy and reflected on the impact of his life on the civil rights movement.

“This is an opportunity to remember Dr. King’s legacy and what he was about,” said Greenville Mayor Dexter Mclendon. “We don’t need to forget.”

The title of Rev. Sims’ message referred to a pivotal moment in Dr. King’s life in 1958. During a book signing in New York City, Dr. King was stabbed in the chest, the knife narrowly missing his aorta. Sims talked about how divine intervention saved Dr. King’s life and emphasized that God’s protection extends to all.

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“God has a purpose in mind for each of our lives,” Sims said. “He provides shelter, protection, and escape.”

Reflecting on what might have been if King not survived, Sims noted that the world might be a worse place in terms of social justice. He acknowledged that while progress has been made, there is still work to be done to address racism and achieve “economic parity.”

“We still live in a nation that is racially divided… but our faith stands firm,” Sims said.

Frank Splunge, Pastor of Harrison Street Missionary Baptist Church, echoed Mayor Mclendon’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of remembering the sacrifices made by past civil rights leaders.

“This is a unity thing,” Splunge said. “It’s to bring the community together and make sure we don’t forget what those people did to further things. To better things.”

The event at Harrison Street Missionary Baptist Church served as a powerful reminder of King’s enduring legacy and the ongoing struggle for equality and justice.