Infusing cultural diversities during tribute to MLK

Published 2:57 pm Thursday, January 24, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.

– Martin Luther King Jr. Spelman College Museum April I960


Reverend Franklin Gans Jr. never met Marin Luther King Jr in person but did watch him on television.

“Someone has to do something for someone else. We are here to remember someone who already did his part,” Gans said the Orange Branch of the NAACP tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. “He was as a drum major, he was asked to be there and he took the charge.”

Gans added MLK meant a lot to him.

“I have lived in neighborhoods I never thought I could,” Gans said.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was an injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile, he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. He directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, “l Have a Dream”, he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure, according to

“We are here to celebrate a man who stood and made a difference,” Gans said. “I am glad to see the mixture of people here today. To see the rainbow in this audience. Thank you, Lord for letting me see this day.”

NAACP secretary Deborah Mitchell said, “How to get the young people involved? Nia Lewis is a good example. Not only does she talk the talk, but she walks the walk. She is passionate, caring and gets other young people involved.”

Lewis is the founder of the non-profit organization Teens Making a Difference and President of Top Teens of America.

“By all means, keep moving forward,” Lewis said. “Today, we are the fruits of his labor.”