That day marked a historic event for the Town of Red Springs.
Some local towns and cities celebrate the life of slain civil rights leader, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with a road or street named after him. The Town of Red Springs wanted to do the same thing and rename Third Avenue in honor of the late Dr. King.
After finding out from the North Carolina Department of Transportation of what the job would encompass in renaming a street of that magnitude, the Red Springs Town Board of Commissioners met with several members of the community and pledged financial support in the building of a stone monument that would be placed in a small mini-park at the corner of East Fourth Avenue and South Main Street in remembrance of King.
All that work came to an end on Saturday, in a special program, attended by several hundred people, as the actual monument was unveiled to the community of Red Springs and its people. Linda Mack, a Town commissioner, chaired a fundraising committee and led an effort to help raise the needed money for the construction and placement of the monument. The committee was made up of Mrs. Mack, Town Commissioners John A. Staton and E.H. Alexander and the Concerned Citizens group of Red Springs that included Dr. Charles Johnson Jr., John Hair and Rebecca Black.
The Rev. Vernon King, nephew of the late Dr. King, was the guest speaker during the ceremony. He now resides in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“It is truly a blessing to bring you greetings from the King family,” said Rev. King. “I’m honored to be here on this grand occasion. I pray that you all will not just rest on the fact that now you have a beautiful memorial but I pray that you all will understand that if we are going to continue my uncle’s work, that we must be unified, not just by our mailing addresses, but by the way we carry on in our schools, on our jobs, in our stores and our communities, because that’s what it was all about, A community that came together.”
Rev. King is no stranger to Robeson County. Before moving to Greensboro to serve as pastor of St. James Baptist Church, he was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Fairmont.
The monument, made of granite features several etched quotes and images of King.
The quotes are placed on two slabs with a black center slab that illustrate the etchings.
“Today, as I see you in this community coming together, it lets me know that his message today has now been actualized in the city of Red Springs, and for that, we thank you,” said King.
“Dr. King would have been proud of us today, because we see a picture of different races here and we’ve all worked together to make this day happen,” said Mrs. Mack. “I don’t want it to stop here; I want us to continue to work together. If we work together, it’s amazing what we can do because there’s no limit to what we can get done and that’s what we’re striving for.”
Red Springs Mayor George Paris, Robeson County Commissioner Noah Woods and Red Springs Town Commissioner E.H. Alexander gave comments during the program
“It’s truly an honor that one has been so inspirational for our nation, as well as our county,” said Robeson County Commissioner Raymond Cummings. “I’m so glad we were able to take part in this. Dr. King is indeed worthy of this recognition and we’re blessed to have his nephew here today to commemorate this event.”
The monument was readied by Alan Parnell of Floyd Mortuary and Crematory in Lumberton at a approximate cost of $8.000.