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For Over 25 Years, Macon County Service Celebrates Legacy Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Lilly Knoepp
Author and journalist Carolyn L. Higgins gave the keynote speech. She asked participants: "What is your dream?"

 Celebrations of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King echo across the nation today.

Macon Country has celebrated with a service including chruches from across the county for more than 25 years .

“Now is the time to lift our Nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood,” says Reverend Mozart Moliere.

Moliere is the pastor at Burgess Chapel in Franklin. His rendition of Dr. King’s “ I Have a Dream” speech brought the audience to their feet at First United Methodist Church.

Credit Lilly Knoepp
Reverend Mozart Moliere gave his rendition of King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech. Moliere says he's been preaching at Burgess Chapel in Franklin since 1998.

The was just a part of the program that included speeches by local author Carolyn L. Higgins, a spiritual sing-a-long by the group C-Square and a historical fiction monologue on the unmarked slave graveyard at the church written by the Women's History Trail leader Barbara McRae.

The Human Relations Council of Macon Country has held the service for over 25 years, says Synethia Owens, the council’s treasurer.

“I said I’ve lived in a period where it’s always been the N-word but some of my best friends have been young white girls, I’ve lived with them and played with them,” says Owens. “But I feel like I still have a job to do because right now nothing is guaranteed.”  

Owens was born and raised in Macon Country. She says her brother was one of the first Black people to attend Franklin High School. She has seen a lot of change in her 65 years.

“It’s like a dog eat dog type of world and I often say what would Dr. King say about what’s going on right now in America? Or at the border? Or wherever?,” says Owens.   

Owens was happy to see an immigrant family from Honduras take part in the service to sing a civil rights song in Spanish. She says civil rights are a cause for all races.

“It’s just like that old tale about the toothpick: if you have one you can break it easily but if you put several together it’s harder to break.”

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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