Aull lauds MLK legacy, urges more work toward dream

Monday, January 21, 2013
Former state Rep. Joe Aull reads a poem he wrote in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Aull was the featured speaker Monday, Jan. 21, at the annual MLK Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by Mar-Saline Branch of the NAACP. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

People know Joe Aull as a state representative, school district superintendent and sports announcer.

At the annual Mar-Saline Branch of the NAACP Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, Aull showed his literary side, reading a poem he wrote about King's influence and legacy.

Aull was the featured speaker at the Monday, Jan. 21, event.

He said it is encouraging to note that MLK Day continues to grow in participation and importance.

"More and more people are starting to celebrate Dr. King," he said. "He was definitely a hero."

He invited the audience to put themselves in King's time and place in order to appreciate the sacrifices he made in the pursuit of justice.

Segregation was beginning to fade, but blacks in America had not yet achieved equality, he said.

King was an intelligent man who could have succeeded in any number of fields and could have lived a comfortable life, Aull said.

"He gave up his comfort," he said. "He gave up everything he had to help his people."

Aull speculated that King may have known there was a chance he would be killed because of his work. He traveled constantly and spoke to hostile audiences.

"A lot of people didn't like the message he had to give," Aull said.

He noted the movement King led continued after his death and contributed to great progress over the years. More blacks are leaders in American society now, serving top positions in business and government. But more progress is needed.

"The dream is not complete," he said. "We still have too much racism, too much bigotry in our country."

Before reading his poem, Aull summed up King's message with three lessons people today can apply: stand up for what you believe, do it peacefully and care as much or more about other people as you do about yourself.

A number of other speakers offered remarks and prayers at the event, which was emceed by the Rev. Mary Williams.

Kathleen Schmidtke, pastor of First United Methodist Church, offered welcome remarks; Elder Weldon Gorham Jr. offered a prayer for the world, the nation and elected officials; Melanie Dees Campbell prayed for families, schools and youth; David Rimmer offered a prayer for foregiveness; Javion Jones and Christine Conway each prayed for churches; and Fr. Kevin Gormley offered a prayer of healing.

The Saline County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol provided the color guard.

Contact Eric Crump at


View 3 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • It seems that some of the programs that had their start by targeting minorities, that disrupted their families and extended families, rippled intentionally or unintentionally into the majority community.

    When one takes an honest look at it one can see parallels of Hitler's methodical move to do what he did.

    Now everywhere you look especially in the larger urban areas we see that our youngsters, our future, believe that it is "hip" to be "dumb".

    Somehow we have let the voices of the Creator ordained household figures to be usurped by the outer government.

    Unless we humble ourselves, pray fervently, seek His face, and change from our wicked ways, He will not hear us and heal us and our land.

    We must strive to be "freemen" in the city, this is what He desires of His created and molded being He named "man".

    -- Posted by Tadar Jihad Wazir on Mon, Jan 21, 2013, at 9:34 PM
  • I disagree with your comment Tadar. In fact I find it preposterous to posit that government programs for the belabored under class has caused the breakdown of their families. Please do some research with an open mind. It is abject poverty that causes the unraveling of structure. It is the stimulus for ignorance, deprivation, depression, and social disorder.

    By the way poverty is the one area of our culture that has never been subject to racial segregation. We as a whole due to our greed, and selfishness, are only too happy to allow an equal opportunity to suffer poverty across this land from urban ghettos to Appalachia. Good grief.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 12:43 PM
  • Also Tadar this also is just an opinion, not a personal admonition; I believe that far too many people spend their entire day yammering prayers to their own detriment. Those folk should shut their mouths long enough to hear the direct instruction of their messengers of God such as Jesus, and Mohammad regarding the poor. Then perhaps they would do more than pray all day, and instead act. Then their prayers would be less hollow. Perhaps they would then understand that the message is lend a hand to those in poverty. I don't recall additional instruction from either to confine such activity to private sources.

    One question for you to consider; would MLK have been more Godly had he prayed all day each day, instead of what he did?

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 1:06 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: