Honoring Martin Luther King’s Work for a Better Future

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was honored in New Britain in a memorial commemoration to the great leader who was assassinated as he fought for civil rights, equality, economic equity and peace fifty years ago.

The commemoration was held by the Mary McLeod Bethune Club, led by President Cheryl Niccolls.

Rev. Brian Riley, the keynote speaker, reminded those gathered to not allow the forgetting of Dr. King’s work in the last three years before his assassination, years during which he worked to build on the important work of the Civil Rights Movement to achieve sweeping economic reforms and in which he opposed the Vietnam War.

At the time of his assassination, Dr. King was in the middle of organizing the Poor People’s Campaign, proposing a progressive set of reforms that would have guaranteed for everyone in the nation decent paying jobs, guaranteed minimum incomes, decent housing, quality education, participatory democracy and universal health care.

Those joining the celebration of Dr. King’s life and work included Rev. Gervais Barger, Rev. Dale Shaw, Laina Rivers, Roger McIlwain, Chief James Wardwall, City Human Rights Officer Jerrell Hargraves, members of the Mary McLeod Bethune Club and thirty other city residents.

Young Elias Sykes, after laying the wreath at the Martin Luther King Monument.

Editor’s note: Rev. Brian Riley is President of the New Britain Independent Newspaper, Inc., which publishes the New Britain Progressive