It was heartwarming to see so many people come together Monday to work on local service projects to make the lives better for the less fortunate in our community. The annual MLK Day of Service is a truly wonderful event that brings people of all races and creeds together to make a positive difference.
But it wasn’t that long ago that the Kennett community was divided by racial strife. Nearly 50 years ago, blacks and whites weren’t even close to being on equal ground. Consider this Sept. 15, 1966 editorial from the Kennett News and Advertisser:
“Negroes in the Kennett Square area, for the most part, hold down more menial, less lucrative jobs than other residents.
Negroes, in Kennett Square area, for the most part, are barred from local swimming pools, and from many of the civic and social organizations of the community.
By nearly any standard, negroes in the Kennett Square area, have yet to realize a role in society equal to their white fellow citizens.
Negroes are housed in the Kennett Square area, for the most part, live in areas of deteriorating and sub-standard homes, many of them with inadequate toilets, heating or sewer facilities.”
Like Rev. Anita Powell said at the annual MLK CommUNITY Breakfast in Kennett Square Monday, much still needs to be done to achieve the goals outlined by King, not the least of which is a world without violence.
Some say Martin Luther King Jr. was a dreamer, that a non-violent world with peace will never exist. In King’s Aug. 28, 1963 “I Have A Dream “ speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. , King dreamed of a world free of racial division:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Though King’s life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet, his legacy lives on. Since he died, our country certainly has become more diverse. So diverse, in fact, that we have a United States president of color.
King would be delighted to see thousands of people in the Kennett area unite to work on projects for needy people of all color. Even students at Kennett High and Unionville High came together to collect 15,000 pounds that were delivered to the Kennett Food Cupboard.
But like Rev. Powell said on Monday: “Doors have been opened, relationships have been built, but are we there yet? I would say we have a long way to go.”
Perhaps we have a long way to go, but it’s great to see we are on the right path. We’ve made great strides since those words were penned in a local newspaper nearly 50 years ago.
Let’s work together so we can become one beloved community, united in love, all working together to better the lives of everyone.