Wednesday, January 18, 2012



By Doc Lawrence

“Let Freedom Ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”
                         Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1963

The words are from his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, the dramatic moment when Dr. King’s power and eloquence were building to a thundering crescendo. To this day, the world has heard nothing spoken to equal the power and the glory on that day in Washington.

Photo By Steve Thomason

 We had a parade here in Stone Mountain, Georgia on “MLK Day, “ the national holiday honoring Dr. King. Five bands from high schools marched and played traditional parade music. The parade route proceeded along the path where the “March to the Sea” actually began during the Civil War.

The bands were interspersed with city officials joined by U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson. Other officials joined the parade with Nan Nash, a Stone Mountain city council member and community leader. It was a day of smiles, joyful noises and harmony.

Accompanied by my son and two grandsons, we walked along the parade route which went through not only the lovely city’s downtown, but through the historic community of Shermantown, the very unique African-American community within Stone Mountain’s city limits. It is a place with amazing history that deserves more recognition and is just beginning to attract writers, historians and others aware of omissions in our history who will fill the blank spaces.

Friendly greetings dominated. On this day, in this place, there were no strangers. The band members marched in step and their music was stirring. I learned that the mighty hymn of the civil rights movement, “We Shall Overcome,” makes a good march song. The bands play it more than once.

Along the way, I heard a voice call my name. It was a friend, Howard Bigby, a lifelong resident of Shermantown whose roots go back into ancient times. He is a master of the giant granite mountain towering over his home and knows the old Indian trails, the healing powers of the mountain and the cleansing goodness of the water he draws from a 350-foot deep well in his back yard. There’s something mighty tasty in water millions of years old.

The parade symbolized everything Dr. King gave his life for. We walked, marched, sang, photographed each other, shared stories, laughed and took time to absorb the majesty of a day of good will.

It was a preview. A higher life.

Enjoy this broadcast about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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