‘The Creator Created Only One Race–The Human Race’
By LORETTA FULTON
Opening a speech with the “N” word normally wouldn’t be advisable for the featured speaker at a Martin Luther King. Jr. Day gathering.
But the Rev. Matthew Lubin, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, did just that and followed the slur with racial epithets that covered just about all of humanity. As a preacher, Lubin knows the importance of grabbing his listeners’ attention right away. And, he succeeded.
What followed was a first-rate sermon that held the attention of everyone gathered at Stevenson Park for the modified MLK Jr. Day event sponsored by Let Us Breathe. Ethnic prejudice, as demonstrated by the slurs that Lubin listed, is sewn into our hearts, Lubin said, and is not simply a political issue that can be erased with legislation.
“This issue is beyond the scope of any political party,” Lubin said.
God alone can change hearts, and Martin Luther King Jr. knew that. He was first and foremost a preacher, a man of God, Lubin said. King was pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta from 1960 until his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
People are obsessed with characterizing others according to race, Lubin said. Knowing someone’s race determines or influences how others interact with them. But, that is not how God interacts with us.
“The Creator created only one race,” Lubin said. “The human race.”
Even though the annual march was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, many cars and trucks that crossed over the MLK Jr. Bridge en route to Stevenson Park were decorated for a parade. Balloons and signs, with words like “Let Freedom Ring” and “Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere” covered some of the vehicles. Prior to Lubin’s talk, a choir sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” followed by a solo rendition of the National Anthem.
Anthony Williams, Abilene’s first Black mayor, introduced the speakers and thanked the family of the late Claudie Royals for continuing the MLK Day March and banquet that their father started. The events are held annually on MLK Jr. Day, a national holiday that coincides with King’s birth on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia.
The 2021 march had a distinctive COVID-19 flavor, as most of the crowd wore face masks during the ceremonies. The annual banquet was canceled, and the march took on a different form. Instead of marching across the MLK Jr. Bridge in east Abilene, participants gathered at the Abilene Convention Center and processed by vehicle to Stevenson Park for the ceremony.
Williams urged the crowd to make Abilene different from other cities where racial unrest often turns violent. He noted that Abilene already is different, with a Black mayor, Black police chief, and Latino fire chief.
“We ought to be proud of that,” he said.
Williams introduced Abilene’s new police chief, Marcus Dudley, the first Black man to serve in that capacity in Abilene. Martin Luther King Jr. had a vision of “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all,” Dudley said.
The reception he has received in Abilene has been heartwarming, Dudley said, and his family is looking forward to relocating here. Dudley’s wife and children remained in Aurora, Colorado, until school is out.
Dr. King’s vision and message was one of togetherness, where all work for a just society for everyone. Police work, Dudley said, also involved “togetherness.” Policing can’t be done alone. Dudley said he was heartened by what he has seen in the Abilene Police Department.
“I see the togetherness,” he said.
Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene