MLK celebration brings tears and cheers 

Published 8:47 am Tuesday, January 16, 2018

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, community members of all ages and races gathered to share inspirational music and hear an encouraging history lesson about the man on Monday afternoon.

Boyle County NAACP organized the event at First Baptist Church, at Second and Walnut streets. It was emceed by the organization’s president, Marvin Swann.

As old friends and community leaders entered the sanctuary, it filled with warm hugs, handshakes and the welcoming sounds of laughter.

John Davis, stands and joins the men’s choir as they sing during the MLK Day event on Monday afternoon.

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When uplifting music was sung by two of the church’s choirs, many audience members sang softly along and clapped in rhythm while respectful “amens” were spoken throughout the room. A solo by a female church vocalist brought some listeners to tears. 

Krystal Burdette garnered a standing ovation for her interpretive dance to “Better Days are Coming.”

After being introduced to the crowd, an emotional keynote speaker, Robert Trumbo, stood with his back to the audience as he regained his composure while looking up at the image of King shown on a screen above his head. 

Robert Trumbo speaks about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the MLK Day event at First Baptist Church Second and Walnut Streets in Danville Monday afternoon.

Trumbo turned around and began to softly hum a post-Civil War African-American song, “Oh Freedom,” then in his deep, mellow voice, launched into singing the hymn. Audience heads started nodding, amens were said and a few more tears were wiped away.

Following the song, Trumbo said he was not a public speaker, “but I’m going to speak today as a teacher,” since he was one for more than 30 years in the Danville school system.

Trumbo described King’s life and his teachings of non-violence when the black community was fighting for its human rights in the 1960s.

He also encouraged people to visit museums in Atlanta, Birmingham, Cincinnati and even in Maysville, in order to get a true feel for African-American history in this country.

Trumbo said he remembers freedom walks in the 1960s in larger cities around the country. King led only one march in Kentucky, in Frankfort. 

Trumbo added, “He also did it for us in Danville, Kentucky.”

He went on to say racism and racial violence still happens in America. But “fighting and stuff — that’s not getting it done,” Trumbo said, referring to recent racial riots.

“Don’t ever become compliant,” Trumbo told the crowd. “We always have to do a little check” to make sure society is fair for all people.

Trumbo ended the brief history lesson reciting in his booming voice the famous King quote, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” as audience members jumped to their feet and cheered.

Krystal Burdette performs an interpretive praise dance to the song, “Better Days are Coming.”