In 1993, to honor the 25th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Frankie West, a resident of Bethlehem, organized a march of Southside families and friends. It became a tradition which continued with the 30th annual remembrance march Jan. 16.
Martin Luther King Jr. Park is a modest piece of land on Carlton Avenue used for community gardening. It has swings, a climbing gym, slide and several benches. Two simple monuments, one for Coretta Scott King and another for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., grace the park. Now, a plaque has been designed to honor the march’s early participants.
This year’s speakers included U.S. Congresswomen Susan Wild, D-7th, Judge of the Common Pleas Court Jennifer Sletvold, Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck and Bethlehem Mayor William Reynolds.
Associate Pastor at N.C. Harvest Church and City of David Ministries the Rev. Tim Smith Sr. led the march from 333 Brodhead St. to the MLK Park. There were volunteers from the Boys and Girls Club of Bethlehem and many community members from all walks of life.
One message that resonated from speaker to speaker was the importance of remembering. Frankie West wants to see this event grow with each generation. Everyone stressed the importance of the work and words of King and making sure the young people continue honoring his memory.
Monuments honoring Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will soon have a third monument in their midst. A plaque recognizing the people who started the Bethlehem MLK March 30 years ago will be placed in the park.
U.S. Congresswoman Susan Wild, D-7th, speaks to the audience at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. She stresses the need for unity and equity amongst all people.
PRESS PHOTOS BY JEN RAGO Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houch speaks to the crowd stressing justice and equity for all.