Published January 26. 2023 09:59AM
by Jenn Rago Special to the Bethlehem Press
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 her husband, 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, Judge of the Common Pleas Court Jennifer Sletvold, Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck, 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 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 Dr. 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. Representative Susan Wild speaks to the audience at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. She stresses the need for unity and equity among all people. “It's more important than ever to continue MLK legacy,” she said.
Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck speaks to the crowd, stressing justice and equity for all.
Northampton County Judge Jennifer Sletvold reminded the audience that woman also benefited from Dr. Kings passion for equality. “I'm here today because of the work MLK started - that all people are equal... I remember that every day as I hear the cases brought before me.”
Bethlehem Mayor William Reynolds welcomes residents and community members to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at the park of the same name on Carlton Avenue In Bethlehem.
The Rev. Tim Smith joined the people assembled at MLK Park in song and prayer before the key note speakers began their presentations.
Marchers celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are led by Rev. Tim Smith, starting at 333 Brodhead Ave. in Bethlehem and ending at MLK Jr. Park on Carlton Avenue.
Press photos by Jenn Rago The Rev. Tim Smith and four very energetic wreath bearers get ready to start the MLK March. Volunteers from the Bethlehem Boys and Girls Club participated in this event. More photos on A2.