Aull lauds MLK legacy, urges more work toward dream
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 email@example.com